A group of researchers from Australian Queensland, led by Associate Professor Jack Clegg and Professor John McMurtry, studied the structural mechanism responsible for the elasticity of crystals at the atomic level. This allowed them to create flexible single crystals, which, if desired, could be tied in a knot.
The width of the grown crystals is commensurate with fishing line, and at a length of 5 cm. They formed as a result of the combination of copper and acetylacetonate, as well as six other structurally related compounds containing copper and other metals with high flexibility characteristics.
Experiments by the Queensland team showed that the crystals can repeatedly bend and return to their original state without any traces of deformation. Unusual flexible crystals can be used in many industries. In particular, thanks to them, new hybrid materials for aviation and space technology could appear.
Additionally, the bending of crystals changes their optical and magnetic properties, which could prove to be a foundation for new technologies that were previously thought impossible to emerge.