7 research outputs found

    Tuning the Rotation Rate of Light-Driven Molecular Motors

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    Overcrowded alkenes are among the most promising artificial molecular motors because of their ability to undergo repetitive light-driven unidirectional rotary motion around the central CC bond. The exceptional features of these molecules render them highly useful for a number of applications in nanotechnology. Many of these applications, however, would benefit from higher rotation rates. To this end, a new molecular motor was designed, and the isomerization processes were studied in detail. The new motor comprises a fluorene lower half and a five-membered-ring upper half; the upper-half ring is fused to a <i>p</i>-xylyl moiety and bears a <i>tert</i>-butyl group at the stereogenic center. The kinetics of the thermal isomerization was studied by low-temperature UV–vis spectroscopy as well as by transient absorption spectroscopy at room temperature. These studies revealed that the <i>tert</i>-butyl and <i>p</i>-xylyl groups in the five-membered-ring upper half may be introduced simultaneously in the molecular design to achieve an acceleration of the rotation rate of the molecular motor that is larger than the acceleration obtained by using either one of the two groups individually. Furthermore, the new molecular motor retains unidirectional rotation while showing remarkably high photostationary states

    Multi-State Regulation of the Dihydrogen Phosphate Binding Affinity to a Light- and Heat-Responsive Bis-Urea Receptor

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    A responsive bis-urea receptor can be switched between three isomers using light and heat as evidenced by <sup>1</sup>H NMR and UV–vis spectroscopy. Anion binding experiments (<sup>1</sup>H NMR titrations, ESI-MS) reveal a high selectivity for dihydrogen phosphate. Importantly, a large difference in binding affinity to the interchangeable isomers is observed, which is further rationalized by DFT calculations. As a consequence, the amount of bound substrate can be controlled via photo- and thermal isomerization in a three-step process

    Molecular Stirrers in Action

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    A series of first-generation light-driven molecular motors with rigid substituents of varying length was synthesized to act as “molecular stirrers”. Their rotary motion was studied by <sup>1</sup>H NMR and UV–vis absorption spectroscopy in a variety of solvents with different polarity and viscosity. Quantitative analyses of kinetic and thermodynamic parameters show that the rotary speed is affected by the rigidity of the substituents and the length of the rigid substituents and that the differences in speed are governed by entropy effects. Most pronounced is the effect of solvent viscosity on the rotary motion when long, rigid substituents are present. The α values obtained by the <i>free volume</i> model, supported by DFT calculations, demonstrate that during the rotary process of the motor, as the rigid substituent becomes longer, an increased rearranging volume is needed, which leads to enhanced solvent displacement and retardation of the motor

    Control of Surface Wettability Using Tripodal Light-Activated Molecular Motors

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    Monolayers of fluorinated light-driven molecular motors were synthesized and immobilized on gold films in an altitudinal orientation <i>via</i> tripodal stators. In this design the functionalized molecular motors are not interfering and preserve their rotary function on gold. The wettability of the self-assembled monolayers can be modulated by UV irradiation

    Photoswitching of DNA Hybridization Using a Molecular Motor

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    Reversible control over the functionality of biological systems via external triggers may be used in future medicine to reduce the need for invasive procedures. Additionally, externally regulated biomacromolecules are now considered as particularly attractive tools in nanoscience and the design of smart materials, due to their highly programmable nature and complex functionality. Incorporation of photoswitches into biomolecules, such as peptides, antibiotics, and nucleic acids, has generated exciting results in the past few years. Molecular motors offer the potential for new and more precise methods of photoregulation, due to their multistate switching cycle, unidirectionality of rotation, and helicity inversion during the rotational steps. Aided by computational studies, we designed and synthesized a photoswitchable DNA hairpin, in which a molecular motor serves as the bridgehead unit. After it was determined that motor function was not affected by the rigid arms of the linker, solid-phase synthesis was employed to incorporate the motor into an 8-base-pair self-complementary DNA strand. With the photoswitchable bridgehead in place, hairpin formation was unimpaired, while the motor part of this advanced biohybrid system retains excellent photochemical properties. Rotation of the motor generates large changes in structure, and as a consequence the duplex stability of the oligonucleotide could be regulated by UV light irradiation. Additionally, Molecular Dynamics computations were employed to rationalize the observed behavior of the motor–DNA hybrid. The results presented herein establish molecular motors as powerful multistate switches for application in biological environments