Scientists at the University of Manchester have created the most complex shaped molecule developed in a lab so far, a six-pointed Star of David molecule with interlocking rings, as reported by the Washington Post.
The possibilities for innovation with this intricate shape are immense. Scientist David Leigh said the inspiration came from viruses (not the computer kind), “When you look at viruses, some of their shells have these coatings made of a chainmail protein, and it’s very tough but very light. So the thinking is if you could do the same thing with a man-made molecule, you could get the same benefits.”
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It has taken some scientists 25 years to figure out how to create the design. At first they attempted to weave linear molecules around each other, but Leigh discovered the trick was to allow them to assemble themselves. The result is that two molecular triangles interweave three times to create a star with a perimeter of only 114 atoms.
This is only the beginning of new shapes and more possibilities for the lab-created molecules. Since the shape happens to be a Star of David, the discovery was dedicated to Chaim Weizmann, the first President of Israel, who spent 12 years as a chemistry professor at the University of Manchester, where the molecule was developed.