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A double helix that is more than lifelike

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A double helix that is more than lifelike

Research scientists from the “Colloid and divided materials” group of the LI2C laboratory, “Ionic liquids and charged interfaces” (UMR 7612 UPMC, CNRS, ESPCI) in Paris, and their colleagues at New York’s Center for Soft Matter Research, have obtained the spontaneous formation of a structure in double helix form which is strangely reminiscent of DNA. It is a blend of colloids - miniscule balls of silica - that organized themselves into a double helix. The chemists’ primary objective? To gain a better understanding of why so-called chiral objects, that is, those only existing under two forms which mirror each other, like our hands, are so abundant in nature.

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