Ames Lab scientist models a first: a pinwheel-shaped chiral nanostructure

An Ames Laboratory theoretical physicist Alex Travesset  is a co-author of a paper published in Nature describing newly discovered tetrahedral shaped chiral nanostructures. The work, led by researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, used controlled evaporation of a solution containing tetrahedron-shaped gold nanoparticles on a solid silicon substrate to assemble pinwheel-shaped, two-layered chiral nanostructures. 

Researchers have been trying to assemble chiral nanostructures for nearly 20 years – about as long as researchers have been studying nanostructures. Such structures could lead to specially engineered materials with “unusual optical, mechanical and electronic characteristics,” according to the Nature paper.

News Link: Researchers build long-sought nanoparticle structure, opening door to special properties