CHEMISTRY: A Noble Chain

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Science  19 Jan 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5503, pp. 401b
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5503.401b

Helical structures abound in biological systems, for example, α helices in proteins and double helices in DNA. Chemists have used many different chemical approaches to mimic such helices in synthetic systems, some of which may be used as switches or conducting nanowires. Yamaguchi et al. have now assembled a single-stranded helix, which has at its core a chain of alternating silver and platinum atoms. Platinum complexes with strong donor ligands (2-phenylpyridine) are the key to the structure because they form strong dative Pt(II)->Ag+ bonds, meaning that both of the bonding electrons are contributed by Pt. The helix is about 2.3 nanometers in diameter and has a pitch of 4.1 nm. In the crystal structure, the grooves of the helices are occupied by adjacent helices. The material is expected to be an insulator, but partial oxidation may lead to conductivity. — JU

Acknowledgments

J. Am. Chem. Soc., in press.

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