A member of the IQC, dr. Sílvia Osuna, who returned to Girona in October 2012 for her third year of the Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship, has been involved in an interesting, and at the same time curious, project. For those people with arachnophobia (‘fear of spiders’), it might be better if you don’t read any further. The research groups of prof. Ken Houk (UCLA) (where dr. Osuna went for two years with her Marie Curie fellowship) and prof. Zhenan Bao (Stanford) teamed up to work on sorting out semiconducting from metallic nanotubes. In doing so, they came up with the chemical equivalents of spiders and lizzards (as can be seen in the image below).
This work has been published in ACS Nano (2013, ASAP DOI: 10.1021/nn4000435) and highlighted recently in Materials-360 Online. These results have been obtained using molecular dynamics simulations carried out by dr. Osuna and co-workers from the Houk group, where the similarity can be seen between spiders climbing up a branch of a tree, and their chemical equivalents of co-polymers climbing along a nanotube (see video below).