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Scientists create molecular scissors

Posted on Saturday, March 31 2007 @ 05:25:27 CEST by

Japanese scientists announce they've created world's smallest scissors, it are molecular clippers that are opened and closed with light:
These novel shears could help control genes, proteins and other molecules in the body, researchers said.

The scissors are just three nanometers, or billionths of a meter, long. This makes them more than 100 times smaller than a wavelength of violet light.

Just like real shears, the molecular device that researcher Takuzo Aida at the University of Tokyo and his colleagues have designed consists of a pivot, handles and blades. The team presented their findings today at the American Chemical Society annual meeting in Chicago.

The blades are made of rings of carbon and hydrogen known as phenyl groups.

The pivot is a molecule dubbed chiral ferrocene, which essentially sandwiches a round iron atom between two carbon plates. The carbon plates can rotate freely around the iron atom.



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