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Catenanes and Rotaxanes - From Topological Chemistry to Molecular Machines


Mechanically interlocked molecules such as catenanes and rotaxanes constitute a major research field of supramolecular chemistry. We propose the synthesis and characterization of a cyclic [3]-catenane and a molecular shuttle that is based on a rotaxane assembly.

In the past few years, an increasing number of [2]-catenanes have been reported; but very little work has been done on the more challenging [3]-catenane systems in which three molecular rings are mechanically interlocked.

Such systems are of high interest in terms of chemical topology, as nanoscale switches for molecule-based computing, and in terms of their potentially very interesting (mechanical) properties that may still await discovery. Several rotaxane based molecular machines have been built in recent years; among them a molecular elevator and a linear motor that functions as a nanoscale muscle.

However, in many of rotaxane systems, the large-amplitude travelling motion occurs on a second-, minute- or even hour-timescale. We propose the synthesis and characterization of a molecular (rotaxane) shuttle built from sterically non-hindering components, and we anticipate that this will lead to greatly improved travelling kinetics.

Synthetic work will make use of methodologies from organic, organometallic and supramolecular chemistry. Characterization techniques will include NMR, MS, optical spectroscopy, and electrochemical methods. Nanoscopic switches and machines may find future practical application as molecular data storage and processing devices.

This research area is not only one of the emerging fields of (supra-)molecular chemistry and nanoscience, but it is also an area in which European research is particularly strong; the proposed fellowship will further contribute to European excellence in this field.

Call for proposal

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Funding Scheme

EIF - Marie Curie actions-Intra-European Fellowships


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