Scientists Manipulate Molecules Into the Tightest Knot Ever Made

Researchers from the University of Cambridge and the University of Manchester have woven chains of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen atoms together in a triple braid - forming the most complex molecular knot ever made. Learning how to tie such knots could one day help researchers weave molecular fabrics with a wide array of properties. Sticky metal ions hold the atom building blocks in the correct position, and a single chloride ion sitting in the middle of the structure anchors it all together. Then, a chemical catalyst links the building blocks, forming the completed knot. The new knot is the tightest ever created, the researchers say, with just 24 atoms between each crossing point.