In a feat of chemistry imitating art, researchers have created a molecular version of a Borromean knot, an attractive pattern of three interlocking rings that commonly adorned Viking art and Renaissance architecture. Other chemists have created a multiply linked molecule that looks like an eight-petal flower.
The fascination among chemists with creating interlocking molecules runs deep. For decades, researchers have been coercing molecules into various ringlike structures, primarily as an exercise in gaining better control over chemical building blocks. Making molecular versions of Borromean rings poses formidable challenges for chemists because no pair of rings is linked unless the third ring is present. So, if any one o