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Kinetic analysis of the rotation rate of light-driven unidirectional molecular motors

By Martin Klok, Wesley R. Browne and Ben L. Feringa


The combination of a photochemical and a thermal equilibrium in overcrowded alkenes, which is the basis for unidirectional rotation of light-driven molecular rotary motors, is analysed in relation to the actual average rotation rates of such structures. Experimental parameters such as temperature, concentration and irradiation intensity could be related directly to the effective rates of rotation that are achieved in solution by means of photochemical and thermal reaction rate theory. It is found that molecular properties, including absorption characteristics and photochemical quantum yields, are of less importance to the overall rate of rotation than the experimental parameters. This analysis holds considerable implications in the design of experimental conditions for functional molecular systems that will rely on high rates of rotation, and shows that average rotation rates comparable to ATPase or flagella motors are within reach assuming common experimental parameters.

Year: 2009
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