A sieve for molecules

Scientists have long tried to use graphene, which is composed of carbon, as a kind of sieve. But this material doesn’t have any pores. Now, a team has found an alternative material which comes with pores from the outset.

Researchers from Bielefeld, Bochum and Yale have succeeded in producing a layer of two-dimensional (2D) silicon dioxide. This material contains natural pores and can therefore be used like a sieve for molecules and ions. Scientists have been looking for such materials for a long time because they could for example help desalinate seawater and be used in new types of fuel cells. The team outlines the fabrication process of bilayer silicates in the journal Nano Letters, published online on 19 January 2022. The study was jointly conducted by the teams headed by Dr. Petr Dementyev from Bielefeld University, Professor Anjana Devi from Ruhr-Universität Bochum and Professor Eric Altman from Yale University.

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Molecular machine in nano cage

What a toy: a tiny gyroscope that would fit in a human cell and that can be controlled from the outside.

In cooperation with an international team at the Institute for Basic Science in South Korea, theoretical chemists Dr. Chandan Das and Professor Lars Schäfer from Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) have constructed a molecular gyroscope that can be controlled remotely by light. They also succeeded in characterising the rotational movements of this synthetic nanomachine with computer simulations. The authors describe their findings in the journal “Chem”, published online on 18 January 2022.

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