The Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratory researchers observed molecular shuttling on a man-made
membrane that mimics cellular behavior. Recurring movements may evolve into rudimentary tools of
nanoconstruction. These observations were published as the cover story in the April 30, 2002, issue of the chemical
and biophysics journal Langmuir.
Sandia 'detective' solves strange case
It was a small problem: a layer of water lying flat instead of slightly bumpy as it froze on a solid.
It became a larger problem when no one could explain why that might happen.
The slight difference between experimental results and established expectations might have meant nothing. But possibly it was signaling a basic scientific misunderstanding concerning the interaction of water with solids -- an area of major industrial and scientific concern.
These self-assembling nanostructures—as durable as seashells—may lower costs by reducing the need for expensive manufactured devices like stress detectors, chemical analyzers, and thermometers.
Nanotemplates for nanostructures
Coffee beans spilled upon a table form no pattern—they're a mess—their distribution dictated by the laws of chance. The same was generally believed true of atoms deposited upon a substrate. The first vision of a peaceable kingdom in which deposited atoms form orderly, controllable 2-D nanopatterns has been observed by researchers at the Sandia National Laboratories.