Mar 21, 2015
Posted by Seb in category: nanotechnology
By Colin Jeffrey — Gizmag
The synthesis of complex small molecules in the laboratory is specialized and intricate work that is both difficult and time-consuming. Even highly-trained chemists can take many years to determine how to build each one, let alone discover and describe its functions. In an attempt to improve this situation, a team of chemists at the University of Illinois claim to have created a machine that is able to assemble a vast range of complex molecules at the push of a button.
A specific class of structures, complex small molecules are readily found in nature and are intrinsic to research in a wide range of scientific fields. In medicine, for example, many of the latest medications have been derived from the manipulation of small molecules. In the biological sciences, small molecules are often used to help reveal the interior mechanisms of tissues and cells. Even non-organic electronic technologies such as semiconductors, including solar cells and LEDs, require the creation and use of these miniature assemblies.