MechMol seeks to create new types of functional systems that depend upon the transmission of the effects of mechanical motion from the molecular level through to the macroscopic world. This is not nano-technology (at least not in the established sense of manufacturing devices at nano-meter length scales from "top-down" or "bottom-up" approaches), rather we are advocating the use of molecular motion to bring about completely new types of property changes on a macroscopic scale. The proposal is cross-disciplinary, with groups from Chemistry, Physics and Engineering. The prospects for economic development are strong.
To use light-induced (and other stimuli-induced) molecular level motion to produce macroscopic property effects.
i) the macroscopic movement of an object across a surface in response to a laser pulse;
ii) a polymer which changes its volume or length in response to an external stimulus;
iii) a switchable surface which changes its properties in response to incoming information.
DESCRIPTION OF WORK
The project would combine the expertise of 6 groups, spanning 3 major disciplines (chemistry, physics and engineering):
-Synthetic organic chemistry: Synthesis underpins the programme; it is necessary to make molecules for all members of the network to study, characterise and work with.[Edinburgh, Amsterdam];
-Various forms of spectroscopy: spectroscopic investigations which probe the different time-scales of dynamics across all phases of matter are required to determine the property effects of individual functional units, how they are effected upon incorporation as components of a rotaxane or catenane, and the overall effect of the shuttling dynamics and proximity effects on the macroscopic properties of the materials. [Amsterdam, Paris, Namur];
-Solid-state assembly: The properties of switching functionalised catenanes and rotaxanes at surfaces will be investigated using assembled (ordered) arrays. [Paris, Namur];
-Molecular modelling and simulations: Calculations and simulations of each groups experimental data and the shuttling dynamics are vital in order to understand the molecular basis and significance of the various effects observed.[Bologna];
-Materials engineering, fabrication and testing: The transition of technology from the academic laboratory to industry is an important consideration if mechanically interlocked molecules are to become of practical importance. The necessity of developing the correct methods to engineer such materials must not be overlooked (Edinburgh).
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
75752 Paris Cedex 15
9712 CP Groningen
1012 WX Amsterdam