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Nanoscale ropes braid themselves, tiny sailors still needed to tie tiny knots

Tim Stevens

While perhaps not being quite as useful as towels, ropes are might handy things to have. With them you can attach things to other things and, well, that's really their primary use. But what if those things are small? Really small. You need nanoropes of the sort created at the Molecular Foundry, braids that measure just 600 nanometers in diameter. A sheet of paper? About 100,000 nanometers thick. Perhaps even more interesting than their scale is how they were constructed, formed of polypeptoids that self-assemble into the coiling double helix you see above. Possible uses? Right now this is a part of experiments to create more complex nanoscale structures, but we could totally see them being used to, you know, tie tiny things together.

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