George Whitesides' Harvard group demonstrates hinged dissections

Harvard chemists and a McGill computer scientist have animated dissections with chemical processes, which they described in:
Chengde Mao, Venkat R. Thallidi, Daniel B. Wolfe, Sue Whitesides, and George M. Whitesides, "Dissections: Self-assembled aggregates that spontaneously reconfigure their structures when their environment changes," Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 124, 2002, pp. 14508-14509.
They write: "Here we describe systems of components in which self-assempbly is caused by capillary interactions and in which the components have the capability of forming two or more assemblies with different structures. These components---millimeter-scale plates having edges functionalized into hydrophobic and hydrophilic sets---float at the interface between an aqueous solution (to which sodium metatungstate can be added to increase its density) and a hydrophobic liquid (perfluorodecalin, PFD); the structure of the aggregate that is formed depends on the density of the aqueous phase."

Copyright 2003, Greg N. Frederickson.
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Last updated January 29, 2003.