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Molecular template makes nanoscale helix

Using ribbons made of organic molecules as minuscule templates, researchers have coaxed a semiconductor material into tiny helical coils. Made of cadmium sulfide, the helical structures could serve as components of future nanoscale sensors and other devices, says Samuel Stupp of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

Stupp and his Northwestern coworkers Eli Sone and Eugene Zubarev made the templates for the cadmium sulfide helices from molecules dubbed dendron rodcoils. When added to solvents such as ethyl methacrylate, dendron rodcoils assemble into twisted ribbons that are 2 nanometers thick.

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