We aim to demonstrate that state-of-the-art computational methods based on a suitable quantum-mechanics/molecular-mechanics (QM/MM) strategy can be employed to approach a rational design of artificial photomodulable devices incorporating a molecular switch (achiral) or motor (chiral) based on a biomimetic scaffold. More specifically, we will focus on the design of cyclic oligopeptides whose conformation can be changed in response to photoisomerization. The development of improved materials of this type (e.g . featuring a chromophore moiety with shorter and more rigid backbone and a more efficient photoisomerization) will be approached via the mapping of the photochemical reaction path of the system both in the gas-phase and in solution.
This provides detailed information on the way in which the torsional deformation of the motor is coupled with the conformational changes in the oligopeptide chain. The results of the research will be used to plan the lab synthesis and characterization of novel photomodulable peptides than will be carried out through the established collaboration between the host computational lab and the synthesis lab.
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