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New 3-D structures assemble with remarkable precision -- Science Nation


New 3-D structures assemble with remarkable precision

While it is relatively straightforward to build a box on the macroscale, it is much more challenging at smaller micro- and nanometer length scales. At those sizes, 3-D structures are too small to be assembled by any machine and they must be guided to assemble on their own. Interdisciplinary research by engineers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., and mathematicians at Brown University in Providence, R.I., has led to a breakthrough showing that higher order polyhedra can indeed fold up and assemble themselves. With support from NSF, Brown University mathematician Govind Menon and Johns Hopkins University chemical and biomolecular engineer David Gracias are developing self-assembling 3-D micro- and nanostructures which can be used in a number of applications, including medicine.

Credit: National Science Foundation

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