Just how universal is the helix?
Here is a very interesting discovery: under certain conditions, mini ‘iron filings’ (or more accurately, magnetite nanocrystals) line up to form helix shaped structures.
Perhaps the most well known helix is the double helix of DNA. But a helix also emerges when you take a strand and keep twisting one end until a spiral appears. This same shape strengthens twine, common thread, yarns, steel cables, and almost every sort of rope available – a rather sturdy structure that provides strength.
I wonder what sort of applications may arise from being able to cause helical nanostructure formations on demand. It is certainly an interesting discovery and the follow up results and applications will be interesting to watch.
Magnetic nanocubes self-assemble into helical superstructures | (e) Science News
Materials made from nanoparticles hold promise for myriad applications, from improved solar energy production to perfect touch screens. The challenge in creating these wonder-materials is organizing the nanoparticles into orderly arrangements.