Molecules, like Tinkertoys, link up

9:48am, October 18, 2001

By developing a novel way to make molecules assemble themselves, researchers may

have opened a new route to microscopic devices, including nanoscale electronics.

Like Tinkertoys or Lincoln Logs, the molecules connect to each other only at

certain points. As a result, the molecules build into predictable shapes.

"We believe that this is a breakthrough for advancing

molecular nanotechnology," says Takashi Yokoyama of the National Institute for

Materials Science in Nagoya, Japan. Yokoyama and his coworkers report the work in

the Oct. 11 Nature.

To make their molecular structures, the researchers tailored molecules, called

porphyrins, by adding a chemical appendage to one or more of four possible

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