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Building 3D nanostructures

Researchers at the University of Nottingham, UK claim to have achieved for the first time a self-assembly of artificial 3D nanostructures on a surface. Scientists say that the new technique could be useful for creating molecular computers and information storage devices of the future.
Researchers have used self-assembly to build molecules upwards and outwards from a surface by introducing a "guest" molecule onto the surface. When additional "host" molecules are then added, these spontaneously arrange themselves around the guest, forming stable extra layers around the molecule. The team employed carbon-60, or buckyballs, as the guest molecules and introduced the C60 onto a surface patterned by an array of host tetracarboxylic acid molecules. These molecules provide an array of nanopores that are stabilized by hydrogen bonding and they can selectively trap other simple molecules, like C60. This opens up the possibility of preparing increasingly complex molecular arrangements, whose organization can be controlled, according to the researchers.
Researchers have created structures that assemble into larger arrays and introduce functionality such a magnetic and electronic properties, which could help in building new responsive materials with potential for sensing and data storage.

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