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Applied Physics A

, Volume 75, Issue 2, pp 301–308 | Cite as

Light-driven molecular switches and motors

  • B.L. Feringa
  • N. Koumura
  • R.A. van Delden
  • M.K.J. ter Wiel
Article

Abstract.

Technology is omnipresent in our modern-day society and it is hard to imagine a world without machines, computers or robots. One of the main current scientific challenges is the bottom-up construction of systems that represent nanosize analogues of switches, devices and motors. Our efforts in this area have focussed on the construction of devices based on sterically overcrowded alkenes. In this paper, we present our ongoing research on the construction of binary molecular switches, which has recently led to genuine molecular motors. The control of chirality in a molecular switching system allows interconversion between molecules of opposite helicity using different wavelengths of light. Such bistable chiral switches are of potential use in optical data storage and processing at the molecular level. The control of molecular chirality is even more subtle in the case of molecular motor systems. The exquisite control of chirality using light as an energy source has resulted in a controlled, repetitive 360° unidirectional rotation in two generations of molecular motor systems.

PACS: 33.15.Hp; 33.20.Lg; 33.55.Ad; 42.70.Df 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • B.L. Feringa
    • 1
  • N. Koumura
    • 1
  • R.A. van Delden
    • 1
  • M.K.J. ter Wiel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Organic Chemistry, Stratingh Institute, University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 4, 9747 AG Groningen, The NetherlandsNL

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