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Motors for use in molecular nanotechnology

27 February 2009

PhD ceremony: M. Klok, 14.45 uur, Academiebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Thesis: Motors for use in molecular nanotechnology

Promotor(s): prof. B.L. Feringa

Faculty: Mathematics and Natural Sciences


The central question in this thesis is if and how artificial motors driving functional technology on a molecular level can be realised. Biochemical and biophysical examples indicate this should be possible, and although the laws of interaction are completely different, the molecular level in no way prevents predefined function of well-organised systems. Molecular motors, since long known to display unidirectional rotation of one half relative to the other upon irradiation with light, may very well be applicable for conversion of light energy into predefined mechanical motion given that Brownian motion can be overcome. Mechanisms and conditions to achieve this are discussed. In all cases acceleration of rotation speed seems to be required. An analysis of the rotation rate of molecular motors with respect to structural elements results in an acceleration of the maximum rotation speed from 60 Hz to 167 MHz. Furthermore, the mechanism of the rate determining step in the rotation cycle has been elucidated further. An analysis of the overall average rotation rate (generally much lower than the maximum rotation rate) indicates how rotation rates can be influenced by controllable variables like light intensity, temperature and concentration. The maximum possible power output has been determined by performing experiments in media with highly viscous properties, and structures that should be capable of displaying controlled linear translational motion on surfaces upon irradiation have been prepared. 


Last modified:15 September 2017 3.38 p.m.

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