Thanks to Stephen for pointing out this news release from Northwestern University (Illinois, USA) which reports on research carried out in the field of nanotechnology.
Here’s an excerpt:
It’s not an electron. But it sure does act like one.
Northwestern University researchers have made a strange and startling discovery that nanoparticles engineered with DNA in colloidal crystals — when extremely small — behave just like electrons. Not only has this finding upended the current, accepted notion of matter, it also opens the door for new possibilities in materials design.
olvera metallicityMonica Olvera de la Cruz
“We have never seen anything like this before,” said Northwestern’s Monica Olvera de la Cruz, who made the initial observation through computational work. “In our simulations, the particles look just like orbiting electrons.”
With this discovery, the researchers introduced a new term called “metallicity,” which refers to the mobility of electrons in a metal. In colloidal crystals, tiny nanoparticles roam similarly to electrons and act as a glue that holds the material together.
“This is going to get people to think about matter in a new way,” said Northwestern’s Chad Mirkin, who led the experimental work. “It’s going to lead to all sorts of materials that have potentially spectacular properties that have never been observed before. Properties that could lead to a variety of new technologies in the fields of optics, electronics and even catalysis.”
The paper will publish Friday, June 21 in the journal Science.