The Rise of the Molecular Machine: Light Driven Molecular Motors

Friday, November 15, 2019


Lauren Brown

Department of Chemistry

College of Arts & Sciences

Synthetic molecular motors have the potential to become powerful forces in nanotechnology. Inspired by biological molecular motors, or motor proteins, synthetic molecular motors have begun to be synthesized. One of the early hinderances in this field was how to produce a controlled, directional movement of the artificial motors, and through much research it was found that light energy could be used produce this type of motion. This seminar will include some of the basic principles and mechanisms of how light energy has been utilized to produce 360 rotation of a molecular rotor. Through a four-step mechanism of two photoisomerization steps, induced by light energy, and two thermal helix inversions, different motors have been synthesized and exhibit a full 360 rotation. Further functionalization can be achieved through structural manipulations which can allow the unique properties of these synthetic molecular motors to be better utilized. The principles of molecular motor rotation through light energy discussed in this seminar can be used to produce more complex motors capable of functionality.


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