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April 11th, 2006
Here is a little way to bring a lot of happiness into the world. A scientist has made the world's smallest and most plentiful "smiley", one measuring a few billionths of a metre across that could pave the way to a new generation of nanotechnologies. Fifty billion of the minute grins, each one thousand times smaller than the diameter of a human hair and floating in a single drop of salty water, have been fashioned from DNA, the molecule that carries the genetic recipe of living things.
The method has been pioneered by Dr Paul Rothemund at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and this is not the full extent of his tiny acts of whimsy. The technique is so simple that it could become an important tool in the creation of new nanodevices, from the working elements of computers to molecular drug factories.
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