World's Smallest Wedding Rings

Goethe University chemistry professor Alexander Heckel was working on DNA nanotechnology when he got married, so naturally he made something fitting: the world's smallest wedding rings, made from interlocking loops of DNA molecules!

Prof. Alexander Heckel and his doctoral student Thorsten Schmidt of Goethe University were able to create two rings of DNA only 18 nanometers in size, and to interlock them like two links in a chain. Such a structure is called catenan, a term derived from the Latin word catena (chain). [...]

From a scientific perspective, the structure is a milestone in the field of DNA nanotechnology, since the two rings of the catenan are, as opposed to the majority of the DNA nano-architectures that have already been realized, not fixed formations, but -- depending on the environmental conditions -- freely pivotable. They are therefore suitable as components of molecular machines or of a molecular motor.


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