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Summer 2009

Bring on the boron

Lai-Sheng Wang has an impish smile, an infectious laugh, and a high-powered research program that studies matter a few atoms at a time.

He uses massive machines to create tiny clusters of atoms. Wang’s clusters aren’t mere lumps. As the magnetic models stuck to his file cabinets show, they are as geometrically elegant as a snowflake.

Wang came to the public’s attention three years ago when his team at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland became the first to make golden buckyball, a hollow cage of 16 to 18 gold atoms. He has also worked on clusters of aluminum, another element with a long … » More …