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July 19th, 2007
Self-assembled nanostructures function better than bone as porosity increases
Naturally occurring structures like birds' bones or tree trunks are thought to have evolved over eons to reach the best possible balance between stiffness and density.
But in a June paper in Nature Materials, researchers at Sandia National Laboratories and the University of New Mexico (UNM), in conjunction with researchers at Case Western Reserve and Princeton Universities, show that nanoscale materials self-assembled in artificially determined patterns can improve upon nature's designs.
"Using self-assembly we can construct silica materials at a finer scale than those found in nature," says principal investigator Jeff Brinker. "Because, at very small dimensions, the structure and mechanical properties of the materials change, facile fabrication of stiff, porous materials needed for microelectronics and membrane applications may be possible."
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