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Communication between Functional Molecules using Photocontrolled Ions (COMMOTION)
Start date: 01 Sep 2008, End date: 31 Aug 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The goal of COMMOTION is to establish a strategy whereby functional molecular devices (e.g. photo-/electroactive) can communicate with one another in solution and in organized, self-assembled media (biotic and abiotic). Despite intense research, no single strategy has been shown to satisfactorily connect artificial molecular components in networks. This is perhaps the greatest hurdle to overcome if implementation of artificial molecular devices and sophisticated molecule-based arrays are to become a reality. In this project, communication between distant sites / molecules will be based on the use of photoejected ions in solution and organized media (membranes, thin films, nanostructured hosts, micellar nanodomains). Ultimately this will lead to coded information transfer through ion movement, signalled by fluorescent reporter groups and induced by photomodulated receptor groups in small photoactive molecules. Integrated photonic and ionic processes operate efficiently in the biological world for the transfer of information and multiplexing distinct functional systems. Application in small artificial systems, combining “light-in, ion-out” (photoejection of an ion) and “ion-in, light-out” processes (ion-induced fluorescence), has great potential in a bottom-up approach to nanoscopic components and sensors and understanding and implementing logic operations in biological systems. Fast processes of photoejection and migration of ions will be studied in real-time (using time-resolved photophysical techniques) with high spatial resolution (using fluorescence confocal microscopy techniques) allowing evaluation of the versatility of this strategy in the treatment and transfer of information and incorporation into devices. Additionally, an understanding of the fundamental events implicated during the process of photoejection / decomplexion of coordinated ions and ion-exchange processes at membrane surfaces will be obtained.
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