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June 6th, 2007
Swedish researchers have devised an efficient and practical way to make dendrimers, highly branched polymer-like molecules with a promising future in nanotechnology and biomedicine.
Dendrimers have been known about for almost 30 years, but the difficulty in synthesising these complex molecules has limited their application. Now, Michael Malkoch and colleagues at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, have come up with a way of assembling dendrimers that takes just half the number of steps usually needed.
Until now, the two main methods for making dendrimers used just one sort of branched monomer, which is converted to the dendrimer by repetitive growth and activation steps. But Malkoch's method uses two different monomers alternately, eliminating the need for activation. Not only does this mean that fewer steps are needed to make a dendrimer of a given size, but because both the reactions used are highly efficient, purification is much easier.
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