Molecule ties itself in a complex knot | Science News

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Molecule ties itself in a complex knot

Chemists synthesize a five-crossing structure

10:36am, December 29, 2011

Chemists have tangled themselves a complicated knot: a molecule whose 160 atoms loop over one another like a five-pointed star.

The molecule’s design, called a pentafoil, is the most complex knot synthesized from building blocks other than DNA. Knowing how to make a pentafoil, its discoverers say, could lead to ways to make materials lighter, stronger or more flexible than before.

“By knowing how to design types of knots, hopefully we can optimize these properties,” says David Leigh, a chemist at the University of Edinburgh. He and his colleagues report the new knot in the January issue of Nature Chemistry.

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