Image: Courtesy of Taku Tsuneta and Syujiro Mori
A signature of arts and crafts sessions, the Möbius strip--a seemingly endless ribbon with only one side and one edge that can be made from construction paper and sticky tape--has been given a new look. According to a report published today in the journal Nature, scientists have succeeded in growing crystals in the form of Möbius structures.
A piece of ribbon or paper can be twisted and turned easily, so a regular Möbius strip itself is no great feat of engineering. Crystals, in contrast, contain an inherently rigid structure. To manufacture their miniature Möbius strips, Satoshi Tanda of Hokkaido University in Japan and his colleagues placed a mixture of selenium (Se) and niobium (Nb) powder in a quartz tube and heated it to temperatures greater than 700 degrees Celsius. Under these conditions, Se changes among vapor, mist and liquid phases. The tiny drops of liquid selenium acted as spools on which the strips formed (see image). As the crystals of NbSe3 grew, they wrapped around the droplet and the two ends met, making a seamless ring the diameter of a human hair. By changing the growing conditions, the researchers coaxed the crystals into twisting either once, resulting in a Möbius strip, or twice, which created a "figure-of-eight" crystal strip.
Exactly what these mini Möbius strips could be used for is unclear. But the scientists suggest that strips of different sizes could be manufactured by varying the size of the liquid drops, and they have already applied their technique to a number of other compounds. The authors propose that these strangely shaped crystals could aid studies of the quantum mechanical effects of surface features.
Sarah Graham | Scientific American
'Lipid asymmetry' plays key role in activating immune cells
20.02.2018 | Biophysical Society
New printing technique uses cells and molecules to recreate biological structures
20.02.2018 | Queen Mary University of London
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
20.02.2018 | Life Sciences
20.02.2018 | Medical Engineering
20.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy