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Polymers Find Plenty of Wiggle Room at the Bottom

Russell recently published a perspective in Science on properties in nanoscopic polymer materials.

Publication Date: September 20, 2013

In his 1959 paper, Richard Feynman stated that the homogeneous properties of amorphous plastics would render them the materials of choice for nanomachines. The drive to determine the properties of nanoscopic elements has given rise to significant developments in tools to probe isolated nanoscopic elements.  For example, free electron lasers provide so much flux that the diffraction (travelling at the speed of light) of a single nanocrystal can be measured before it is destroyed (typically happening at the speed of sound). Recently, broadband dielectric spectroscopy (normally considered a bulk probe) studies of Kremer and coworkers (2) showed that the glassy dynamics of a single, condensed isolated polymer chain is identical to that seen in the bulk.

R. P. Feynman, Eng. Sci. 23, 22 (1960).

M. Tress et al., Science 341, 1371 (2013). 

Science

September 30, 2013