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Dec 12, 2016 05:55 PM EST

How Minimal Positive Design Can Pave The Way For Nanoscale Technologies [VIDEO]


Recently, scientists were able to simulate particles that have spontaneously arranged themselves into geometrical arrangements called Archimedean tilings. This discovery can lead to building several nanoscale technologies. However, before this can happen, scientists need to realize these Archimedean structures, which is possible through minimal positive design.

The role of positive minimal design in nanoscale technologies have been explored by a recent paper written by Stephen Whitelam, a researcher at the Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and published in the recent issue of Physical Review Letters. In his paper, Whitelam discussed the role of minimal positive design strategy in these self-assembling Arcimedean tilings.

Prior to this, scientists were able to create self-assembling Platonic tilings which are simpler in nature than Archimedean tilings. On the other hand, Archimedean tilings are more complex because they contain different shapes and share one vertex making them look similar when you zoomed in the intersection points because they have the same angles. In order to achieve the self-assembling Archimedean tilings, the scientists used the new design strategy called minimal element.

The minimal design strategy uses chemical selectivity where the interparticle interactions found in a desired arrangement is identified. After identifying these particles, only those particles in that interaction is selected. It undergoes a simple cooling process and once done, the particles self-assemble to the desired structure. Whitelam said that if chemical selectivity is not used, Archimedean tilings will not occur.

Chemical selectivity is not a new concept. In fact, it is already used to control the interparticle interactions among biological particles, such as the DNA. However, Whitelam hopes that with this discovery, scientists will be able to create these self-assembling particles into other types of arrangements, which will provide a tool for creating future nanoscale devices.

Why is nanoscale technology very important? Although the use of nanotechnology as of the moment is limited to sunscreen, self-cleaning glasses, lipsticks, and anti-bacterial socks, it can be used in the future in almost all applications including medicine and the military.

In the future, said the Royal Society, nanotechnology can be used in medicine to deliver drugs to the specific target in the body. Scientists are even looking at the possibility of nanofoods which can make people fuller for a longer period of time.

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