'Box of tricks'

"A miniature cage springs a trap for metals"

(Article Precis, 01/Aug/1998, Issue 2145, p15)
Andy Coghlan reports that a research team at the University of Illinois have built a hollow molecular cube just 0.51nm wide, with a volume of only 0.13 cubic nm, which is capable of holding a single metal ion such as caesium.

Smaller cages have been made in the past, such as cubane (0.16nm wide), but the new development is the first that can actually hold a solid entity within, and is also one of the few that is not part of a powder solid.

Possible applications include molecular detectors, the separation of mixed solids, and even mopping up unwanted contaminants disolved in a liquid.

Note: In order to comply with copyright law, I have ommited some details from the original article. Thus, for a complete insight into the topic covered here, please either consult your local library for the issue concerned, purchase the relevant issue from your local newsagent, or back-order it from the publishers.

Precised by Ian Mapleson, 16/Aug/1998.