Scientists create molecular scissors

Posted on Saturday, Mar 31 2007 @ 05:25 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
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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Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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