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Self-assembly of magnetite nanocubes into helical superstructures

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Science  05 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6201, pp. 1149-1153
DOI: 10.1126/science.1254132

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Tuning the twisting in helical nanowires

Assembly of inorganic nanoparticles into complex structures often requires a template. Researchers can now assemble helical nanowires out of cubic magnetite nanocrystals by tuning interactions that bind or separate them. Singh et al. floated the nanocrystals on a liquid and aligned them with a magnetic field. After the liquid evaporated, different twisted nanowires remained. The helices varied according to the concentration of nanocrystals, their shape, and the strength of the magnetic field. Competition between weak forces drives this self-assembly and can lead to arrays with the same twist direction.

Science, this issue p. 1149