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Chemists Cluster in Chicago to Confer on Cagey Compounds

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Science  16 Oct 1992:
Vol. 258, Issue 5081, pp. 400-401
DOI: 10.1126/science.258.5081.400


Shrink a clump of matter to a few hundred atoms, and it enters a curious netherworld. Neither ordinary solids nor conventional small molecules, such atomic clusters have unique chemical, optical, and electronic properties. Since the mid-1970s, when advances in synthesizing and analyzing clusters first enabled researchers to explore this netherworld in earnest, clusters have nucleated a sizable field. Many of its participants gathered in Chicago on 15 to 22 September for the Sixth International Symposium on Small Particles and Inorganic Clusters, the first of the series to be held in the United States. At the top of the agenda for the 300 attendees were the field's old stalwarts, various kinds of metal clusters; its current darlings, the carbon clusters known as fullerenes; and a possible future superstar, silicon clusters.