Scientists have developed a way of braiding three molecular strands enabling tighter and more complex knots to be made than has previously been possible.
The paper, published in Nature Chemistry reports the synthesis of a new type of molecular knot, called an endless knot (or 7-4 knot). This type of knot cannot be made from helices – simply twisting strands together and joining the ends – a technique used to make complex molecular knots before.
A team, from the University of Manchester, employed a 3×3 interwoven molecular grid as an intermediate and key structure – they solved this key structure using single-crystal X-ray diffraction techniques on Diamond’s I19 beamline. The bright synchrotron light on I19 was fundamental to the discovery as without it there would not be proof that the knot strands were woven in the correct way.
Read more on the Diamond website
Image: A new type of molecular knot, called an endless knot (or 7-4 knot).
Credit: David Leigh, University of Manchester.