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The seemingly peculiar helical structured noncrystalline ("weird") gold nanowires, which have been a prime research topic for a team of scientists from ICTP, SISSA (Scuola internazionale superiore di studi avanzati) and INFM (Istituto nazionale per la fisica della materia) led by Erio Tosatti, has again received notice in a major international science journal. In an article published in the 12 January 2001 edition of Science, the Trieste researchers have confirmed in theory what electron microscopes have displayed in images: the gold tips on either side of multishell helical nanowires play a crucial role in the nanowires' unique shapes and properties. In the 24 November 2000 issue of Science, Tosatti explained in an interview that: "At larger scales, materials form crystals. In nanowires, the material is not a crystal. It is very different, electrically and mechanically." While Tosatti notes that the research is curiosity-driven, he also acknowledges that it is teaching us things about the spontaneous structuring of ultra-tiny objects both in gold and other materials that will likely prove useful in future applications of nanotechnology.

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