Wednesday, June 27, 2012

molecular puzzles

I love rotaxanes - they are assemblies consisting of a ring loosely wrapped around a dumbbell shaped molecule, whose endgroups are so bulky that they stop the ring from escaping. They hold the same fascination as those puzzles made of chromed wire, one just can't help wondering: how on earth did that thing get around the other one? Or maybe it's just me.

Anyhow, I was pleased to hear from Oxford chemist Harry Anderson that his group and others have now succeeded in creating rotaxanes with polyynes (polyacetylenes) as the axle. Puzzles apart, such constructs are also of interest as possible molecular wires and as a first step towards a new modification of carbon. So I wrote a news story about all this, which is now out in Chemistry World:

Running rings around molecular wires

Free access.

Cartoon: Wikipedia

UPDATE (4.8.2012): you can now find the piece in this month's print edition as well, on page 33.

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