What is the difference between linear chains and rings composed of the same material? The molecular building blocks are identical, but from a mathematical point of view the structures have distinct topologies, ring and linear chain. This difference is readily recognizable on a macroscopic scale, but represents a tricky task on the microscopic scale. Physicists have investigated strategies to separate nano- and microparticles of distinct topology.
Nanomaterials: How to separate linear and ring-shaped molecules