Thursday, November 02, 2006

Periodic Table of Nanoparticles

A team at Columbia University is branding their work as an attempt to construct a periodic table of nanoparticles. It is my understanding that this would hopefully expose some sort of pattern or trend in what shapes are adopted by any given combination of molecules when they are mixed together and sonicated. I regard this as a blatant act of shameless self promotion. What they are doing is not nearly of as general importance as the grand old table. What I propose instead is the modernization of every current periodic table to include a list of every known ligand with a high affinity to the metals and the crystal structures of the native elements at room temperature. Children should be exposed to organometallic chemistry and materials science very early on but at a basic level. Gold likes to stick to sulfur. Carbon can be arranged in sheets that look like hexagonal floor tiles to form slippery graphite or it can adopt a tetragonal arrangement to become diamond. This is easily demonstrated by a teacher by standing with one leg far in front of the other an both hands raised high up in the air as if someone is pointing a gun at them.

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