Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Controlled disorder: Scientists find way to form random molecular patterns

Date:
December 1, 2011
Source:
University of Nottingham
Summary:
Scientists have discovered a way to control how tiny flat molecules fit together in a seemingly random pattern.

Scientists at The University of Nottingham have discovered a way to control how tiny flat molecules fit together in a seemingly random pattern.

The researchers have been studying molecules which resemble tiny rhombus/diamond shaped tiles, with a side length of around 2 nanometres -- 2 billionths of a metre.

The fundamental research, published in the journal Nature Chemistry, has shown that they can prompt the 'tiles' to form a range of random patterns by adjusting the conditions in which the experiment is conducted.

Lead author Dr Andrew Stannard, in the University's School of Physics and Astronomy said: "To construct some sort of nanoscale device composed of molecules, one needs to understand how those molecules will interact with one another.

"Typically, a useful device would be one in which the molecules arrange themselves in some perfectly ordered, regular manner. What we have studied here is almost the complete opposite -- we have purposely tried to make the assemblies of molecules as random as possible.

"However, if we can gain a complete understanding of how randomness and disorder arises in these types of molecular structures, we can better understand how to eradicate that disorder when we want to create something functional."

Tilings of various geometrical shapes have interested scientists, mathematicians, and artists for centuries, and a wide range of tilings can be seen adorning many medieval architectural structures, as well as for practical purposes in our more modern kitchens and bathrooms.

But tile effects occur naturally within nature and science too and tilings of rhombuses are of particular interest to physicists, mathematicians and computer scientists because of their ability to form both periodic (regular, repeating patterns) and nonperiodic (random) patterns.

The Nottingham scientists have demonstrated for the first time that the generation of molecular rhombus tilings with varying degrees of orderliness -- some very random, some very ordered -- can be achieved by varying the conditions of the experiment in which they are created.

The achievement is all the more remarkable considering the range of experimental conditions in which this can be achieved is extremely narrow, requiring the scientists to achieve a delicate balance between energy and entropy -- the subjects of the first and second laws of thermodynamics, some of the fundamental laws of physics and, in the case of entropy, are linked to order and disorder within a thermodynamic system.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Nottingham. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Andrew Stannard, James C. Russell, Matthew O. Blunt, Christos Salesiotis, María del Carmen Giménez-López, Nassiba Taleb, Martin Schröder, Neil R. Champness, Juan P. Garrahan, Peter H. Beton. Broken symmetry and the variation of critical properties in the phase behaviour of supramolecular rhombus tilings. Nature Chemistry, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/nchem.1199

Cite This Page:

University of Nottingham. "Controlled disorder: Scientists find way to form random molecular patterns." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111130095106.htm>.
University of Nottingham. (2011, December 1). Controlled disorder: Scientists find way to form random molecular patterns. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111130095106.htm
University of Nottingham. "Controlled disorder: Scientists find way to form random molecular patterns." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111130095106.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) — TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) — Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) — When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) — 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:  

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile iPhone Android Web
          Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins