Band of gold

A crown of 36 gold atoms locked together through gold-gold bonds has been synthesized by researchers at the Universities of Beijing, Hong Kong, and Nanjing, the biggest gold ring of its kind to date. Shu-Yan Yu, Yi-Zhi Li, and Vivian Wing-Wah Yam started with a six-atom system in which three of the gold atoms are linked in a triangle with a gold atom attached to each vertex. Organic ligands give the overall assembly a three-blade propeller structure. The team then hooked together six gold propellers using a self-assembly process. Within the resulting macrocyclic ring system, the gold atoms are arranged into a shape that resembles a crown: six double triangles bound to each other through two corners and the free double-corners pointing outward in a pattern that alternates above and below the plane of the ring.