Using gold nanoparticles and a thin layer organosilanes, Jan Genzer and associates from North Carolina State University, developed a new material that could be used to make better filters, more efficient sensors, and faster catalysts. "The distinguishing feature of our approach is that the particles follow a pre-designed chemical template provided by the organosilane sticky groups," said Genzer. "The ability to manipulate the underlying template allows us to prepare gradient structures of nanoparticles with varying characteristics." To build the substance, Genzer prepares a very thin layer of organosilanes, sticky molecules with a head and a tail, on a rectangular surface of silica. The head glues to the surface, while the tail sticks out, acting like a hook waiting for a gold nanoparticle to attach to it. The scientists dip the material in a solution containing negatively charged gold nanoparticles. Contact Karen McNulty Walsh from the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory at email@example.com, or phone, (631) 344-8350.