Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International



Home > Press > Quick-fix Molecular Machines

Berkeley Lab researchers at the Molecular Foundry have developed a route to rapidly assemble 'cage-like' container molecules that could be used as molecular machines.
Berkeley Lab researchers at the Molecular Foundry have developed a route to rapidly assemble 'cage-like' container molecules that could be used as molecular machines.

Abstract:
Berkeley Lab researchers have developed simple recipes to whip up ‘cage-like' container structures for the creation of complex molecular machines.

Quick-fix Molecular Machines

Berkeley, CA | Posted on May 25th, 2009

A sprinkle of this, a dash of that, sit back and let chemistry do its magic. Smells like a cooking analogy, but Berkeley Lab researchers have used just such a simple recipe to whip up ‘cage-like' container structures to create complex molecular machines that can be programmed to rotate, switch and perform mechanical work.

Previous research has shown efficient synthetic techniques can be used to construct complicated molecular machines that function by moving the individual parts within an overall molecular architecture. An example of this is a rotaxane-a complex molecule made of interlocking components that resemble wheels and axles. The tiniest building blocks in a scientist's toy chest, these nanoscale parts ‘clip' together to form functional molecular machines.

Unlike their macroscale counterparts, however, these interlocked molecules require no tinkering-"you can throw all the pieces together and let it assemble on its own," said Yi Liu, a staff scientist in the Organic and Macromolecular Synthesis Facility in the Molecular Foundry, a U.S. Department of Energy User Facility located at Berkeley Lab that provides support to nanoscience researchers around the world. ‘The challenge is how to engineer a synthetic route to make the assembly happen on demand."

Liu and colleagues have done just this, creating a caged structure made of benzene-like rings that assemble themselves around an axle of bipyridinium (a similar but positively-charged molecule containing nitrogen) to create an interlocked architecture. The cage itself could hold ions or small biological molecules, making it potentially useful for sensing applications.

"Our findings are especially attractive as the entire structure is formed through a ‘one-pot' synthesis from six individual ingredients. Once the driving force, in this case the weak interactions between molecules, is identified, we can tailor the clipping to give us just the interlocked structure in an efficient manner, without undesirable polymer byproducts," Liu said. "What could be simpler?"

The researchers anticipate the caged structure could be used as molecular containers for sensing, or as molecular switches by selectively sliding the cage along the axle, with ‘on' and ‘off' settings at either end. "The easy steps and simple precursors suggest these structures can be readily obtained in large-scale to support their applications," Liu adds.

"Linear p-acceptor templated dynamic clipping to macrobicycles and [2]rotaxanes," by Liana M. Klivansky, Gayane Koshkakaryan, Dennis Cao and Yi Liu, appears in Angewandte Chemie International Edition and is available in Angewandte Chemie online.

The Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, of the United States Department of Energy, supported this work, under contract No. DE-AC02-05 CH11231.

The Molecular Foundry is one of the five DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers (NSRCs), premier national user facilities for interdisciplinary research at the nanoscale. Together the NSRCs comprise a suite of complementary facilities that provide researchers with state-of-the-art capabilities to fabricate, process, characterize and model nanoscale materials, and constitute the largest infrastructure investment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. The NSRCs are located at DOE's Argonne, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Oak Ridge and Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories. For more information about the DOE NSRCs, please visit nano.energy.gov.

####

About Berkeley Lab
Berkeley Lab is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California. Visit our website at www.lbl.gov.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Aditi Risbud
(510)486-4861

Copyright © Berkeley Lab

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Virginia Tech physicists propose path to faster, more flexible robots: Virginia Tech physicists revealed a microscopic phenomenon that could greatly improve the performance of soft devices, such as agile flexible robots or microscopic capsules for drug delivery May 17th, 2024

Gene therapy relieves back pain, repairs damaged disc in mice: Study suggests nanocarriers loaded with DNA could replace opioids May 17th, 2024

Shedding light on perovskite hydrides using a new deposition technique: Researchers develop a methodology to grow single-crystal perovskite hydrides, enabling accurate hydride conductivity measurements May 17th, 2024

Oscillating paramagnetic Meissner effect and Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless transition in cuprate superconductor May 17th, 2024

Possible Futures

Advances in priming B cell immunity against HIV pave the way to future HIV vaccines, shows quartet of new studies May 17th, 2024

International research team uses wavefunction matching to solve quantum many-body problems: New approach makes calculations with realistic interactions possible May 17th, 2024

Aston University researcher receives £1 million grant to revolutionize miniature optical devices May 17th, 2024

Gene therapy relieves back pain, repairs damaged disc in mice: Study suggests nanocarriers loaded with DNA could replace opioids May 17th, 2024

Molecular Machines

First electric nanomotor made from DNA material: Synthetic rotary motors at the nanoscale perform mechanical work July 22nd, 2022

Nanotech scientists create world's smallest origami bird March 17th, 2021

Controlling the speed of enzyme motors brings biomedical applications of nanorobots closer: Recent advances in this field have made micro- and nanomotors promising devices for solving many biomedical problems October 13th, 2020

Giant nanomachine aids the immune system: Theoretical chemistry August 28th, 2020

Self Assembly

Diamond glitter: A play of colors with artificial DNA crystals May 17th, 2024

Liquid crystal templated chiral nanomaterials October 14th, 2022

Nanoclusters self-organize into centimeter-scale hierarchical assemblies April 22nd, 2022

Atom by atom: building precise smaller nanoparticles with templates March 4th, 2022

Sensors

Innovative sensing platform unlocks ultrahigh sensitivity in conventional sensors: Lan Yang and her team have developed new plug-and-play hardware to dramatically enhance the sensitivity of optical sensors April 5th, 2024

$900,000 awarded to optimize graphene energy harvesting devices: The WoodNext Foundation's commitment to U of A physicist Paul Thibado will be used to develop sensor systems compatible with six different power sources January 12th, 2024

A color-based sensor to emulate skin's sensitivity: In a step toward more autonomous soft robots and wearable technologies, EPFL researchers have created a device that uses color to simultaneously sense multiple mechanical and temperature stimuli December 8th, 2023

New tools will help study quantum chemistry aboard the International Space Station: Rochester Professor Nicholas Bigelow helped develop experiments conducted at NASA’s Cold Atom Lab to probe the fundamental nature of the world around us November 17th, 2023

Announcements

Virginia Tech physicists propose path to faster, more flexible robots: Virginia Tech physicists revealed a microscopic phenomenon that could greatly improve the performance of soft devices, such as agile flexible robots or microscopic capsules for drug delivery May 17th, 2024

Diamond glitter: A play of colors with artificial DNA crystals May 17th, 2024

Finding quantum order in chaos May 17th, 2024

Oscillating paramagnetic Meissner effect and Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless transition in cuprate superconductor May 17th, 2024

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project