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A New Family Of Self-Assembling Nanolattices

Date:
January 6, 2006
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
Inspired by the way most solids form in nature, with free-floating molecules spontaneously assembling themselves into a rigid, highly uniform array, researchers from Columbia University and IBM have learned how to create a whole new family of intricate structures out of artificial nanoscale crystals.
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Transmission electron microscope images of some of the latticework structures created by the self-assembly of different nanoparticles. The colored inset image in each frame shows the corresponding three-dimensional structure in an ordinary crystal.
Credit: Elena Shevchenko

Inspired by the way most solids form in nature, with free-floating molecules spontaneously assembling themselves into a rigid, highly uniform array, researchers from Columbia University and IBM have learned how to create a whole new family of intricate structures out of artificial nanoscale crystals.

Because the nanocrystals can be chosen for their precise magnetic and electronic properties, says the group's spokesperson, Stephen O'Brien of Columbia, these new structures could have broad application for magnetic storage and nanoscale electronics.

"You can think of nanocrystals as building blocks like the toy Lego," says O'Brien, "in which a larger structure can be assembled by locking in the pieces according to their shape and the way they prefer to join to each other. Except all of this is on an incredibly small length scale -- billionths of a meter."

The group described 10 of the new structures in the Jan. 5, 2006, issue of the journal Nature. Their work was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research through NSF's Materials Research Science and Engineering Center at Columbia.


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National Science Foundation. "A New Family Of Self-Assembling Nanolattices." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 January 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060106001906.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (2006, January 6). A New Family Of Self-Assembling Nanolattices. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060106001906.htm
National Science Foundation. "A New Family Of Self-Assembling Nanolattices." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060106001906.htm (accessed May 29, 2015).

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