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Tying atomic threads in knots may produce material benefits
Date:11/8/2011

the Edinburgh team has tied into a five-star knot is just 160 atoms in length and measures a 16-millionth of a millimetre.

Using a technique known as self-assembly, the researchers produced a chemical reaction in which atoms were chemically programmed to spontaneously wrap themselves up into the desired knot.

Principal researcher David Leigh, Forbes Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh, said: "It's very early to say for sure, but the type of mechanical cross-linking we have just carried out could lead to very light but strong materials - something akin to a molecular chain mail.

"It could also produce materials with exceptional elastic or shock-absorbing properties because molecular knots and entanglements are intimately associated with those characteristics. By understanding better how those structures work - and being able to create them to order - we should be able to design materials that exploit those architectures with greater effect."


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Contact: Catriona Kelly
Catriona.Kelly@ed.ac.uk
44-131-651-4401
University of Edinburgh
Source:Eurekalert

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