Molecular Matryoshka

As with the wooden Russian effigy of the maternal life cycle, the Matryoshka doll within a doll within a doll, a capsule of twelve copper atoms encases a single tin atom. But, the copper capsule is itself enveloped by 20 additional tin atoms. According to Thomas Faessler of the Technische Universitaet Muenchen, Germany, creator of the "bronze" Matryoshka, the substance itself is a rather unassuming fine, charcoal-gray powder. However, its nondescript appearance in the bulk belies the potential of these materials, with their large surface area to volume ratio, as catalysts for hydrogen transfer and other applications.