Development of New Molecular Machines and Functional Materials Based on a Special Binuclear Cycloplatinated Organometallic System

Project: Research

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Molecular machines refer to those specially designed and synthesized supramolecular systems that can imitate movements of mechanical machines in the macroscopic world. Besides a conceptual and synthetic challenge to synthetic chemists to come up with abiotic molecular systems that can mimic the elegant translocation mechanisms in live cells, molecular machineries are potentially very important in realizing the micro-manipulation of nano- and micro-scale devices in advanced nanotechnological applications. Also, functional materials with interesting responsive properties can be generated by the incorporation of suitable molecular machines in bulk polymeric matrices. Thus, the development of new molecular machines with enhanced features and new mechanical capabilities has been receiving increasing attention in the recent decade. The researchers' recent group has recently developed an interesting organometallic molecular device that was able to undergopH-induced intramolecular movement resembling the mechanical movement of a pivot-hinge joint. Such a "molecular pivot-hinge joint" is based on aμ-dppm-bridged binuclear platinum(II) cyclometalated complex. Molecular conformation of the cycloplatinated complex was able to switch between the "closed" form, which was held in place by an intramolecular Pt – Pt interaction, and the "open" form, which was held in place by two intramolecularp-pinteractions, by altering thepH of the media. In fact, such a molecular pivot-hinge mechanism represents a new mode of molecular machinery motion and should be potentially very useful in creating new molecular machines and functional materials. In this project, the researchers will explore the various approaches in the incorporation of such an interesting cycloplatinated molecular pivot-hinge system into polymeric matrices to obtainpH-regulateable functional materials. For example, polysiloxane gels cross-linked by the molecular pivot-hinge complexes can bring aboutpH-induced expansion/contraction of their bulk volume. Also, linear organometallic polymers with repeating units of molecular pivot-hinge complexes can undergopH-controlled elongation/contraction in a manner similar to the action of muscle fibres. The researchers hope that the experience the researchers learn from this project on the design and synthesis of organometallic polymers and materials and their resultant performance will be very useful to the design of artificial muscles and other bio-mimic motor/actuator materials in the future.


Project number9041309
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/09/0830/04/12