Artificial molecular machines can not only exploit rotary or linear molecular motion to perform useful functions, but can also elucidate the operational principles of Nature´s biomolecular analogues, which underpin a myriad of crucial biochemical processes. Electrochemically controlling these systems is a particularly promising approach to achieve a high degree of (spatial) control, reusability, sustainability and ease of interfacing with existing electrical (nano)technologies and can furthermore be utilised in solid materials or gels. In spite of these advantages, they remain considerably underexplored.
In this MSCA-PF action, we aim to address this challenge in developing redox-driven conformational switches based on the overcrowded alkene bisthioxanthylidine (BTX). As a result of their synthetic adaptability, and versatile multistate switching properties, redox-driven BTX rotors are ideally suited to complement, or even surpass, the ubiquitous light-driven overcrowded alkene motors, particularly in opaque and interfacial environments. In order to develop this capability we propose the first systematic investigation into both the fundamental redox-switching properties of BTX derivatives and also, for the first time, demonstrate their utility in various proof-of-principle applications, including switchable ion-recognition and stimuli-responsive interfaces. This work will furthermore lay the foundation for the development of the first, true unidirectional-redox driven overcrowded alkene motors, a long sought-after, but thus far elusive, goal. These pioneering efforts will not only provide invaluable insights into the operational principles of redox switches, and molecular machines in general, but will also pave the way towards their exploitation in numerous industrial, biomedical and environmental applications, especially where light-driven systems are not applicable.
- HORIZON.1.2 - Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Main Programme