Assembling Molecular Machines into Organometallic Polymers

Project: Research

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Molecular machines refer to those specially designed molecular systems that can mimic movements of mechanical machineries in the macroscopic world. In 2016, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was given to the three pioneers, Prof. Jean-Pierre Sauage, Prof. Sir J. Fraser Stoddart and Prof. Bernard L. Feringa, who have initiated this very important field that is essential for the development of nano-/micro-scaled devices and robots for advanced nanotechnological applications. In order to generate macroscopic actuation, molecular-level motions of a large number of molecular machines have to be aligned and coordinated. One way to achieve this is to assemble molecular machines into polymers so that their concerted motions can be harnessed to create useful work-done. Yet, up to now, there are only few attempts on this approach. Our research group has developed a series of interesting binuclear platinum(II) complexes containing two subunits that can move, under the control of acid-base conditions of the media, in a manner similar to a pivot-hinge joint. We found that these “molecular pivot-hinge” machines can be convenient assembled into polymer chains or even 3-dimensional networks. Their acid-base controlled motions may produce large-amplitude alterations to the dimensions of their resultant polymers leading to macroscopic actuations. In this project, we will explore different designs of new binuclear platinum(II) molecular pivot-hinge systems and the polymers that they can form. We will also put the polymer chains of molecular pivot-hinge machines onto the surface of planar and microparticle materials. Changes to the surface properties of those modified materials due to the motions of the molecular machines will be examined. We envision that knowledge gained from these studies will enable us and other researchers in the field to fine-tune our strategy in the design and fabrication of molecular machine-based functional materials to accommodate different nanotechnology applications. 


Project number9042807
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/10/19 → …