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Molecular Motors - Controlling movement at the nanoscale (MOLECULAR MOTORS)
Start date: Jan 1, 2009, End date: Dec 31, 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The design of artificial molecular motors and machines is one of the major challenges in contemporary molecular sciences and bottom-up molecular nanotechnology. Whereas the protein-based molecular motors found in the living cell are amongst the most fascinating and complex structures found in nature and crucial to nearly every key biological process, the field of synthetic linear and rotary motors is still in its infancy. In a broader context moving molecular sciences from the current situation with a focus on static structures and operation under thermodynamic control to dynamic chemistries with systems under kinetic control will represent a major step beyond current frontiers of chemical sciences. Furthermore, a shift from control of structure to dynamic control of function and from molecules to molecular systems, where several components act in concert often at different hierarchical levels, makes it possible for fascinating and unique properties to be discovered. In this program the goal is to significantly push ahead the frontiers of the field of molecular motors and machines both with respect to control of translational and rotary motion, as well as the exploration of dynamic functions of molecular systems governed by molecular motors. A further extremely challenging goal is to explore synthetic systems that can undergo autonomous motion. This program builds on our recent discoveries of the first unidirectional light-driven rotary molecular motor, the chemical driven rotary motor that can complete a full rotary cycle in a repetitive manner and the first molecular defined autonomous translational motor powered by a chemical fuel. As the basic principles, rules and parameters that govern molecular motion at the nanoscale are, largely, not yet understood, the focus of this proposal is on a multidisciplinary program addressing some of the most challenging fundamental issues in this uncharted territory.
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