Artificial molecules can possess a new kind of symmetry that cannot be found in natural molecules. This image describes a hyperspace Mobius machine that transforms ordinary bezene molecules into metamolecules with Mobius symmetry--the topological phenomenon that yields a half-twisted strip with two surfaces but only one side.
For years, scientists have been searching for an example of Möbius symmetry in natural materials without any success. But a team of researchers, led by Xiang Zhang of the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, discovered Möbius symmetry in metamaterials. Metamaterials are materials engineered from artificial atoms and molecules with electromagnetic properties that arise from their structure rather than their chemical composition. To learn more about this discovery, see the LBNL news story Strange New Twist: Berkeley Researchers Discover Möbius Symmetry in Metamaterials. [The optimal characterization of the experiment was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (CMMI 07-51621).]
(Date of Image: December 2010)
Credit: Chih-Wei Chang