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Imagine you are looking for a partner and you are invited for a blind date, but you end up in a big cold gym with hundred other people. The chance that you bond with any of the hundred others is not very large.

But now imagine that all these people are placed in a small, cosy café instead. The chance that you bond with somebody is now much larger, because people react differently in small spaces than in large. Molecules are the same. That is why I put my molecules in molecular cages.

A molecular cage looks a bit like this, but on nanoscale, so hundred thousand times smaller than the thickness of a hair. This cage works like a café for molecules. The molecules can enter the cage and are in close proximity. Because of this they react faster and often also in a different manner. We can also place a bouncer at the outside of the café to keep unwanted molecules out. With these cages we create new reactions and we are able to make for instance pharmaceutical molecules in a cheaper and more efficient way.

WHY DO I LOCK MOLECULES IN A CAGE?
ANNE JANS
University of Amsterdam

Molecules are just like people. If you put many of them in a small, cosy space like a café, they will react very different than when they have plenty of space, for example in a bleak, empty sports hall. Anne Jans takes advantage of this and puts molecules in molecular cages. With her approach she hopes to make new reactions possible.

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