PerspectiveMaterials Science

Molecular "Ghosts"

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Science  01 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5595, pp. 976-977
DOI: 10.1126/science.1078604

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Molecules can rapidly diffuse through porous materials such as zeolites, but one would not expect them to diffuse through close-packed solids without disturbing the crystal structure of the solid. However, this is precisely what Atwood et al. observed when they dipped a calixarene crystal into vinyl bromide. In his Perspective, Steed predicts that this simple experiment will have tremendous implications for solid-state diffusion, because it is likely that similar processes can occur in other materials. Diffusion is likely to occur through a highly synchronized process.