J Siegel and his colleagues at the University of California in San Diego, US, have synthesised a cage-like molecule similar to buckyballs and fullerenes, but one whose size and shape as well as overall chemistry is far easier to manipulate. The molecule used by Siegel is corannulene, which is shaped like a bowl. Using a standard synthetic chemistry approach, the team built a cage-like structure, which Siegel calls basketball molecules. The approach, though still largely experimental, has tremendous potential for designing molecules of specific shapes and properties.
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