Research News

Researchers Make Slick and Sticky Films

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Science  18 Apr 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5311, pp. 354
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5311.354

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Living cells are the masters of hierarchical building, assembling, for instance, amino acids into proteins and then proteins into more complex structures. On page 384, chemists report imitating this skill, creating molecules that assemble themselves first into clusters, then sheets, then thick films. Because all the building-block molecules are oriented the same way in the films, they have a bottom surface that is sticky and a top that is slick. This property could make the films useful for everything from anti-icing coatings on airplane wings to anti-blood-clot linings for artificial blood vessels.