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Molecular muscle gets the job done

Chemists solve a stubborn problem by resorting to strong-arm tactics

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3:15pm, September 15, 2011

Chemists have taken a tip from Tony Soprano — where cajoling, fear and intimidation fail, brute force may succeed. To break the strong bonds of an exceptionally stable ring-shaped compound known for resisting all powers of chemical persuasion, researchers attached chains to it and physically tore the thing apart.

The extremely sturdy compound, a triazole ring found in many drugs and fungus-fighting chemicals, was yanked asunder using molecular chains and the power of suction that’s created when bubbles implode. This new approach, published in the Sept. 16 Science, suggests a powerful new means for bossing molecules around.

“It’s a

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