Nanoscience can arrange minute molecular entities into nanometric patterns in an orderly manner using self-assembly protocols. Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have functionalized a simple rod-like building block with hydroxamic acids at both ends. They form molecular networks that not only display the complexity and beauty of mono-component self-assembly on surfaces; they also exhibit exceptional properties.
Designing components for molecular self-assembly calls for functionalities that 'interlock'. For example, our genetic information is encoded in two DNA strands, zipped together in a 'spiral staircase' double helix structure in a self-assembly process that is stabilized by hydrogen bonding.
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