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Molecules Spontaneously Form Honycomb 106

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the just-a-push-in-the-right-direction dept.
Science Daily is reporting that University of California Researchers have discovered a new process in which molecules assemble into complex patterns without any outside guidance. From the article: "Spreading anthraquinone, a common and inexpensive chemical, on to a flat copper surface, Greg Pawin, a chemistry graduate student working in the laboratory of Ludwig Bartels, associate professor of chemistry, observed the spontaneous formation of a two-dimensional honeycomb network comprised of anthraquinone molecules."
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Molecules Spontaneously Form Honycomb

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  • by QuantumFTL (197300) * <justin.wick@nOSPaM.gmail.com> on Saturday August 19, 2006 @05:49PM (#15941938)
    This is really awesome, however carbon spontaneously forms many different shapes, not the least of which are C60, nanotubes, and graphite (which has a honeycomb shape). As cool as this is, what part of this is "news?"
  • Re:crystals (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @05:56PM (#15941956) Homepage Journal
    This doesn't seem any more unusual than a crystal lattice.
    Its just doing it in another molecule.

    I'm with the GP, its not earth shattering.
  • by damian cosmas (853143) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @06:36PM (#15942068)
    I think it's kind of silly, but getting something to self-assemble cooled in liquid nitrogen is a little different than the "spontaneous" formation of fullerenes and whatnot in an electric arc furnace, since lots of things happen spontaneously at 1800 K and the yields are piss-poor. Still, this is nothing new. Zeolites have been self-assembling with large pore sizes for a while now.
  • Re:importance? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 19, 2006 @06:50PM (#15942103)
    This issue seems to be the scale of the self-assembled structure, and its simple origin. The comparison with a ribosome is not to the point. Ribosomes have evolved over about a billion years. In this case, the metal substrate and organic molecule are off-the-shelf, not proprietary. Also, the symmetry group is different from that of nanotubes or buckyballs. Third, the size of the channels makes them suitable for applications such a 3-D nanoelectronic circuitry.

    -- Jonathan Vos Post
  • Crappy article (Score:3, Insightful)

    by littleghoti (637230) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @06:59PM (#15942117) Journal
    The article is overly simplified, and reads like the researchers are blowing their own trumpet. If you have a clean metal surface, pretty much anything will stick to it. This will form a stable layer with a regular structure. Whilst it may be the first time anyone has seen anything that big, I would doubt that it is an entirely new mechanism as they claim.
  • by dwhitman (105201) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @07:03PM (#15942122)
    carbon spontaneously forms many different shapes, not the least of which are C60, nanotubes, and graphite (which has a honeycomb shape). As cool as this is, what part of this is "news?"
    All the examples you give are covalently bonded molecular structures, where the observed regularity is derived from the symmetry of the orbitals forming the bonds.

    What's cool about this (as near as I can tell from the junior high-school level article) is that the structures are supramolecular, many orders of magnitude larger than the anthraquinone molecules they are made of. The structures seems to be held together only by (weak) van der Waals interactions between the molecules, influenced by the copper substrate. This is interesting and unusual, if you know enough chemistry to appreciate it.

    I'd love to see x-ray diffraction of these layers, to see how the anthraquinones are packing, and how the symmetry of the molecules is reflected in the much larger honeycomb.

  • Re:Honycomb? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pembo13 (770295) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @09:58PM (#15942536) Homepage
    I am pretty sure that I wasn't the only one who knew the correct spelling, but didn't notice the mistake.
  • by Nick Driver (238034) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @12:28AM (#15942952)
    If the moderation of the above four comments is any indication, Slashdot is populated by the same demographic which watches Saturday morning cartoons.

    Nope. Rather, Slashdot is populated mostly by the same demographic who grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons many, many years ago before they all turned into lame crap.
  • Comma's... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 20, 2006 @01:42AM (#15943104)
    "Spreading anthraquinone, a common and inexpensive chemical, on to a flat copper surface, Greg Pawin, a chemistry graduate student working in the laboratory of Ludwig Bartels, associate professor of chemistry, observed the spontaneous formation of a two-dimensional honeycomb network comprised of anthraquinone molecules."

    6 Comma's; one butchered, unreadable sentance, and the entire article's like that.

    What happened to the days writers used things such as paragraphs, periods, and semicolons, and grammar? Oh wait, I know what happened; Some dipshit decided to try to introduce metered speech, a hypnotism technique, into news articles to make them sound more official. So now we've got poindexter here, managing the pauses in his text so anyone who can speed-read it ends up in a train wreck and anyone who reads it like a 3rd grader ends up thinking it's some great discovery. While the rest of humanity who still has their brains intact, looks at it flat out and thinks to themselves "and the point of reading this is?".

    News for nerds my ass.

  • by dfenstrate (202098) * <dfenstrate@gQUOTEmail.com minus punct> on Sunday August 20, 2006 @03:28AM (#15943275)
    Ever catch one of your old favorites replaying on TV?

    They're crap. What we watched was crap then, and what kids watch nowadays is crap as well.

    It's just that we were kids and couldn't tell it was crap, so we developed fond memories of it.

The 11 is for people with the pride of a 10 and the pocketbook of an 8. -- R.B. Greenberg [referring to PDPs?]

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