Research Highlights | Published:

Materials

Molecular fan opens under light

Nature volume 515, pages 314315 (20 November 2014) | Download Citation

Researchers have constructed micrometre-sized, stacked layers that slide open like a folding fan when illuminated.

Yanke Che and his colleagues at the Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences created thin, ribbon-like structures up to one micrometre wide.

The ribbons are composed of multiple layers, each consisting of pairs of a long, thin molecule called perylene diimide. Under a blue-green laser, the layers slide apart because the photons excite electrons and distort molecular conformations, the researchers say. As a result, the ribbons expand, reaching around 12 micrometres in width after 3 minutes. They shrink back in seconds when exposed to an electron beam.

Materials that change shape under light could have many applications, including in artificial muscle, the team says.

Adv. Mater. http://doi.org/f2v7vc (2014)

About this article

Publication history

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/515314e

Authors

    Comments

    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

    Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing