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Molecular motors: new designs and applications

PhD ceremony:Mr G.D. (Diederik) Roke
When:December 14, 2018
Supervisors:prof. dr. B.L. (Ben L.) Feringa, prof. dr. W.R. (Wesley) Browne
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Science and Engineering

The main focus in this thesis is light-driven molecular motors, molecules that are able to rotate around their central in one direction when irradiated. Because of this unique properties they have received a lot of attention and have been applied in various fields. However, for these motors to reach their full potential, some challenges have to be addressed. In this thesis, some of these challenges are addressed. For example, currently most of these molecular motors have are driven by UV light, which is damaging to many materials, but also to cells when considering biomedical applications. Two novel designs of motors are presented that are able to undergo rotary motion with visible light, which is much less harmful. Moreover, changing the speed of rotation of a molecular motor can be quite tedious, as it often requires making a whole new motor in the lab. In this thesis, a switch is attached to a molecular motor that can be switched between two states with light. When irradiating this switch, the rotary function of the motor can be easily switched on and off. Finally, new areas are explored to apply molecular motors in which their unique properties can be used. For example, hollow spheres or cages are formed by four molecular motors. The shape of these cages can be controlled by irradiation. Controlling the shape and size of cages with light is a very promising strategy to for example release drugs loaded inside the cavity of these spheres.