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Chemists craft molecular keypad lock

Darren Murph
December 29, 2006
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While the folks behind the AACS could probably use a few pointers about constructing a sufficient lock of their own, a group of scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovat, Israel have crafted a molecule-sized "keypad lock" that "only activates when exposed to the correct password, a sequence of chemicals and light." Organic chemist Abraham Shanzer and his colleagues suggest that their invention could "lead to a new level of safeguards for secret information," but we tend think the infamous hackers of the world would inevitably crack the code. Nevertheless, the molecule -- dubbed FLIP -- houses a core linker that mimics a bacterial compound that binds to iron, and attached to it are two molecules that respectively can glow either blue or green. Using three "buttons," which just so happen to be an acidic molecule, an alkaline compound, and ultraviolet light, the lock can be "opened" if given the right sequence of chemicals and light, and there's a grand total of two noticeable results possible. Interestingly, the researchers have insinuated that their creation could be used to recognize "when certain sequences of chemicals (like harmful toxins) are released in the body," but we haven't heard a 10-4 from the US Army just yet.

[Via Yahoo, thanks, Antonio H.]



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