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A novel, fast oscillating rotaxane fixed on a gold surface


Molecular machines and motors are meanwhile a field of steadily growing interest. The development of molecular structures, which may perform real functions, would mean a breakthrough in miniaturisation, because the molecules are by far smaller than the components used in devices today. In my project, a very promising path is followed, consequently joining several well-founded ideas. Most former systems of rotating/oscillating molecules lacked a sufficient speed of rotation, due to their molecular structure. The target rotaxane consists of a pirouetting ring connected to an axle by a coordinated copper ion. The axle bears a central phenantroline with a modified constitution allowing much faster movement and the motion can easily be triggered electrochemically, which has been already proved by preliminary experiments. The final speed of rotation will be determined in Strasbourg. Moreover the target molecule will have two sulfide-anchors to fix the axle firmly on to a gold surface. Due to that, the deposited molecule as a whole will have no degrees of freedom, allowing strict control over the movement of the threaded ring. The preparation of a different ring carrying a long rigid group on one side, may allow visualization of the rotation by AFM (atomic force microscopy). To my knowledge, this combination of a fast oscillating, surface-fixed rotaxane, has never been used before and paves the way to other examples of molecular machines, which may finally be used in nanotechnology. The applicant joins a group with a world-class reputation. He will work closely with its permanent researchers, whose practical and theoretical experience will be valuable for his education and training. Access to the excellent facilities available at the host institution allows the applicant to increase his knowledge of contemporary organic synthesis and coordination chemistry and keeping touch of the latest technological advances. By participating in multidisciplinary collaborations, he can contribute to the exchange of ideas and results on the international stage, visit other leading research institutes in Europe, and establish the connections which will be essential as he continues with an academic career in this field. The applicant's contribution to the group is his comprehensive knowledge of pure coordination chemistry that will allow him to act as a consultant for the rest of the team regarding the inorganic aspects of all the projects currently underway.

Funding Scheme

RGI - Research grants (individual fellowships)


Institut Le Bel, Rue Blaise Pascal 4
67070 Strasbourg