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Blog

Ringed molecule honours sporting event

Olympicene


By Hamish Johnston

In honour of a certain event in London this summer, researchers at the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), the University of Warwick in the UK and IBM Research – Zurich have used “clever synthetic chemistry and state-of-the-art imaging techniques” to create a molecule that’s reminiscent of the five rings that symbolize the event.

What have they called it? Olympicene, of course, and it’s already made its way onto the RSC’s chemical database.

“Alongside the scientific challenge involved in creating olympicene in a laboratory, there’s some serious practical reasons for working with molecules like this,” says David Fox of the University of Warwick.

“The compound is related to single-layer graphite, also known as graphene, and is one of a number of related compounds that potentially have interesting electronic and optical properties. For example, these types of molecules may offer great potential for the next generation of solar cells and hi-tech lighting sources such as LEDs,” he says.

The image shown here was obtained by the Physics of Nanoscale Systems Group at IBM Research. It claims to have achieved “unprecedented resolution using a complex technique known as non-contact atomic force microscopy”. A single molecule is just 1.2 nm in width.

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