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Molecules Spontaneously Form Honycomb 106

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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  • Re:crystals (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Gospodin ( 547743 ) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @06:13PM (#15942008)

    This is pretty cool stuff. Makes me wonder how exactly it works (IANAC). Suppose you set up the lattice and then dropped a new molecule right in the middle of an existing pore. Presumably it would be attracted to one of the edges, but what then? Does the whole lattice get rearranged as the new molecule is shuffled into place? Where does the energy come from for all of that?

    Way more interesting than a salt crystal, btw.

  • Re:Not New (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jibster ( 223164 ) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @07:50PM (#15942227)
    Your right and I agree completely. If you look at the shape this is only this is not complex in the least. Many materials do this. Is so common I wondered at first why it was news. Then I saw the scale.

    There are a lot more degrees of freedom in this system than in a hexagon with only 1 molecul per side. What would happen if we added 1% of another molecule? Could you engeneer it to only fit in certain locations and modify say, ever third? The starting of a gate-drain-source arranegment?

    OK there's a lot of what ifs there but the potentional pay off is huge. These structres are built at the same time all over the surface. If it could be manufactored it would scale amazingly.

    I researched in this field and now I work in it. This stuff is 20+ years out but its a simple modifable molecule like anthraquinone that's going to kick start true nanotech.

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly