Research objectives and content
The objective is the preparation of hydrogen bond-assembled molecular shuttles (peptide rotaxanes) that can alter their properties (e.g., luminescence) in response to an external stimulus (light, electrons or environment polarity). There are 3 stages each involving the synthesis and characterisation of several molecular shuttles: (i) rotaxanes with proximity-sensitive functionality on the thread and macrocycle switchable through altering solvent polarity, (ii) rotaxanes derivatised to allow redox or photo-mediated shuttling, and (iii) a combination of the two allowing opto/electronic switching of a property through shuttling. Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
Main training is in synthesis and non-covalent interactions and assembly processes. Characterisation involves collaborations with a wide range of other disciplines (various forms of optical spectroscopy, nmr, theoreticians, x-ray crystallography) and gives an appreciation of the range of tools available to probe systems at the molecular level. Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)
Several UK, european and japanese companies sponsor research into catenanes and rotaxanes at UMIST because of the appeal of using architecture to influence macroscopic properties. A TMR Network on hydrogen bond-assembled catenanes has considerable industrial interest.