A necklace fit for a virus
Zhiqun Lin

A necklace fit for a virus

Scientists have made a necklace so small that it’s more likely to fit a virus than a human. And like full-size necklaces, these nanonecklaces are customizable for different occasions—scientists can swap out the disk-shaped beads to control the properties of their chains, making potential materials for electronic or magnetic devices, chemical sensors, or catalysts. To form their nanonecklaces, scientists threaded sugar ring molecules on a polymer string. By grafting polymer threads on these rings, they created starlike structures along the strand, which served as a template for the formation of nanoparticle beads. The researchers then used electron microscopy to visualize their necklaces, shown above. The beads were about 10 nanometers in diameter and sat at regular intervals along the strand, they report today in Science Advances. Although this is not the first nanonecklace ever made, the new process provides a more general and controllable way of synthesizing such nanomaterials—a useful development, because manipulating materials on such tiny scales is a challenge.