F Rosa Rubicondior: Just Another Example of the 'Impossible' Happening

Thursday 3 August 2017

Just Another Example of the 'Impossible' Happening

An illustration shows nanocrystals assembling into an ordered ‘superlattice’ – a process that a SLAC/Stanford team was able to observe in real time with X-rays from the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL).

Illustration: Greg Stewart/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Scientists Watch ‘Artificial Atoms’ Assemble into Perfect Lattices with Many Uses.

One of the major problems that creationism suffers from is that so many of its claims are demonstrably untrue and can be seen to be untrue.

The leading frauds are acutely aware of that problem so have a work-around for it. They tell their followers that if the evidence tells them their beliefs are wrong, the evidence must be wrong because their beliefs can't be. Then they witter on about 'evidence' and try to mislead people about it as though it does matter after all. They must be the only people who call themselves scientists but argue you should ignore evidence unless you can persuade yourself it agrees with you.

Here, for example, is an example of scientists watching something happen that creationists insist doesn't happen. They watched order (and a high degree of order) emerge out of chaos.

Of course, this isn't the first time. One only need look at a snowflake to see that a high degree of order can come from a chaotic arrangements of water molecules in water vapour and does so countless trillions of times a year in clouds. You can look at the fine structure of the surface of a sandy beach as a wave receded to see a criss-cross of little ripples forming out of chaotic grains of sand.

The discovery was made by chance when the scientists were watching for something they expected to happen but saw something 'weird' happening instead:

Crystallization of colloidal nanocrystals into superlattices represents a practical bottom-up process with which to create ordered metamaterials with emergent functionalities1*, 2, 3. With precise control over the size, shape and composition of individual nanocrystals4, 5, 6, various single- and multi-component nanocrystal superlattices have been produced, the lattice structures and chemical compositions of which can be accurately engineered7, 8, 9. Nanocrystal superlattices are typically prepared by carefully controlling the assembly process through solvent evaporation or destabilization2, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 or through DNA-guided crystallization16, 17, 18. Slow solvent evaporation or cooling of nanocrystal solutions (over hours or days) is the key element for successful crystallization processes10, 18. Here we report the rapid growth (seconds) of micrometre-sized, face-centred-cubic, three-dimensional nanocrystal superlattices during colloidal synthesis at high temperatures (more than 230 degrees Celsius). Using in situ small-angle X-ray scattering, we observe continuous growth of individual nanocrystals within the lattices, which results in simultaneous lattice expansion and fine nanocrystal size control due to the superlattice templates. Thermodynamic models demonstrate that balanced attractive and repulsive interparticle interactions dictated by the ligand coverage on nanocrystal surfaces and nanocrystal core size are responsible for the crystallization process. The interparticle interactions can also be controlled to form different superlattice structures, such as hexagonal close-packed lattices. The rational assembly of various nanocrystal systems into novel materials is thus facilitated for both fundamental research and for practical applications in the fields of magnetics19, electronics3 and catalysis20.

They had set up a window into the reaction chamber so they could shine an SSRL X-ray beam through the reaction. They expected to see the typical diffraction pattern of X-rays being scattered off nanoparticles. However, they saw something else instead. They saw the completely different pattern of particles self-assembling into a precise lattice just as individual atoms and ions do.

Nano particles are a billionth of a millimetre in size and typically are composed of between 100 and 10,000 atoms. At that size they behave according to the laws of quantum mechanics and have properties than can be varied by varying their size and shape.

The scientific significance of this discovery in not that order emerges naturally from chaos - anyone who has looked at the structure of a crystal knows that - but that these highly ordered and precise nano-structures can in principle be produced very quickly - in seconds. Previously, producing these sorts of crystal-like structures had taken days.

At this point, “The challenge was to understand what brings the particles together and attracts them to each other but not too strongly, so they have room to wiggle around and settle into an ordered position,” said Jian Qin, an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Stanford who performed theoretical calculations to better understand the self-assembly process.

Once the nanocrystals form, what seems to be happening is that they acquire a sort of hairy coating of surfactant molecules. The nanocrystals glom together, attracted by weak forces between their cores, and then a finely tuned balance of attractive and repulsive forces between the dangling surfactant molecules holds them in just the right configuration for the superlattice to grow.

It's likely that soon these self-assembled order-from-chaos structures, that creationists will still be insisting can't exist because they don't equate to what they believe, will be playing an increasingly large part in every-day life in high-tech applications like magnetic storage, solar cells, optoelectronics and catalysts that speed chemical reactions. Nano-particles that change colour are already being used in high-definition visual displays and television screens. No doubt creationists will just think these things work by magic too.

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1 comment :

  1. Helmer von Helvete wrote:

    This is great information brought forward by you, Rosa! Thank you very much!

    BTW, some years ago I read this article: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/42345179_Mechanosensitive_Self-Replication_Driven_by_Self-Organization .

    I'm sure you too will find that article interesting, Rosa.

    Here is the abstract:

    Self-replicating molecules are likely to have played an important role in the origin of life, and a small number of fully synthetic self-replicators have already been described.

    Yet it remains an open question which factors most effectively bias the replication toward the far-from-equilibrium distributions characterizing even simple organisms.

    We report here two self-replicating peptide-derived macrocycles that emerge from a small dynamic combinatorial library and compete for a common feedstock.

    Replication is driven by nanostructure formation, resulting from the assembly of the peptides into fibers held together by beta sheets. Which of the two replicators becomes dominant is influenced by whether the sample is shaken or stirred.

    These results establish that mechanical forces can act as a selection pressure in the competition between replicators and can determine the outcome of a covalent synthesis.

    Unfortunately, no Swedish apologist has ever wanted do debate the findings presented in that article. And I doubt they are willing to debate what now can be read in your own blog post here above, Rosa. I mean, why can't even the apologists try to give us a deceitful and dishonest explanation why such scientific explorations - like the one in my link or the one in your blog post - should be dismissed and shrugged off. There should be at least one bible verse they could refer to, there always seems to be so when you're talking to apologists. At least if a symbolic and/or allegorical interpretation of the verse is chosen.


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