UCLA chemists have devised an elegant solution to an intricate problem at the nanoscale that stumped scientists for many years: They have made a mechanically interlocked compound whose molecules have the topology of the beloved interlocked Borromean rings. In the May 28 issue of the journal Science, the team reports nanoscience that could be described as art.
The UCLA group is the first to achieve this goal in total chemical synthesis, which research groups worldwide have been pursuing.
Named for a noble Italian family, the Borromean rings first appeared on the family’s coat of arms in the 15th century. Examples of the rings can be seen in buildings on three islands in northern Italy’s Lake Maggiore, which are still owned by the Borromeo family. The Borromean link comprises three interlocked rings that form one inseparable union such that cutting any one ring results in the other two falling apart.
Stuart Wolpert | EurekAlert!
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