• molecule maker

molecule maker (Photo : cen.acs.org)

A revolutionary new "molecule maker" machine can automatically build various small organic molecules after the operator pushes a button. The synthesizer's method assembles molecules from building blocks constructed of modules, with several applications such as drugs and LEDs.

Martin D. Burke, an organic chemist from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), and his team developed the new machine and the synthetic process that can synthesize 14 different classes of molecules. Revolution Medicines, a biotech team, intends to use the technology to discover new drugs and to create a second-generation synthesizer.

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Burke stated that his team wanted to make the "complex process" of chemical synthesis simple, according to Science Recorder. The simplicity allows for automation, and then the automation brings molecule-making to non-chemists.

The findings of Burke and his team are featured in an article that will be published on March 13. It will appear in "Science," a journal.

A machine like the molecule maker that churns out tiny molecules could have several applications. They include searching for new medicines and components for electronic devices.

In terms of chemical synthesis, Kenichiro Itami of Nagova University praised the new machine as a "tour de force." He explained that most synthetic chemists, including himself, have been "dreaming" of building such a contraption, according to C&EN.

Burke and his team previously designed a method for making the majority of polyenes (organic compounds) contained in organic products. In the new study they invented a new "catch and release" system and built a synthesizer to make the three steps required for every synthetic code automatic.

While few of us understand exactly how the molecule maker works, it has the potential to produce some major medical and technological advances. That is good enough.