from the every-atom-in-its-place dept.
Gina Miller writes "University of California, Irvine scientists used a scanning tunneling microscope to build chains of gold atoms, one atom at a time, from one to 20 atoms long, and to measure the electrical conductivity of the chains: UCI gold chain study gets to heart of matter. The electronic properties of the gold nanostructure changed dramatically as the first few atoms were added and could share electrons. But by six atoms, the electrical conductivity of the chain was very similar to that of bulk gold, implying functional gold structures could be built with as few as six atoms."
The research article "Development of One-Dimensional Band Structure in Artificial Gold Chains" by N. Nilius, T. M. Wallis, and W. Ho appeared in the September 13, 2002 issue of Science.