book review

Nanotechnology and Supramolecular Chemistry Books
Reviewed by: T.J. Nelson

Introduction to Nanoscale Science and Technology
Massimiliano Di Ventra, Stepane Evoy and James R. Heflin, Jr

A great book to read while you're lying on the beach this summer getting irradiated is Introduction to Nanoscale Science and Technology by Profs. Di Ventra, Evoy, and Heflin. Although each chapter is written by a different set of authors, it's not just a collection of review articles. The chapters are well integrated into a coherent theme, which is: big artificial molecules, their chemistry and uses. Big molecules primarily means fullerenes or buckyballs, which are large soccer ball-shaped molecular spheres made of pure carbon. There are also chapters on quantum dots, carbon nanotubes, magnetoresistive devices, and nanofluidics, along with several chapters on more mundane technologies like microelectronics.

One minor complaint: the authors might consider using a spill-chucker for the next edition. The book comes with a CD that contains color PowerPoint presentations of the figures in the book. This is helpful when an author says something like, "fullerenes exhibit unique ... beautiful colors" and refers the reader to a grainy black-and-white illustration. Some advice to the publisher: join the 21st century before Kindle eats your lunch.

Molecularly Imprinted Polymers:
Man-Made Mimics of Antibodies and Their Applications in Analytical Chemistry
(Techniques and Instrumentation in Analytical Chemistry, vol. 23)
B. Sellergren, ed

T his hideously expensive multi-author book is a definitive treatise on molecularly imprinted polymers or MIPs, which are big synthetic antibody-like molecules whose shape is formed by imprinting from a template molecule--sort of like a molecular Play-Dough. If this technology can be made to work, we will finally be able to create stable synthetic molecules that can recognize other molecules, without the expense and inconvenience of making antibodies. In turn, that will lead to the first practical protein microarray chips, stable molecular detectors for biotoxins, and molecular protein therapeutics. But it's been a tough slog. You will rarely find a book where the authors sound as frustrated as the chemists who contributed to this book. A background in chemistry is recommended.