Molecular machines

Molecules bearing robotic arms

Mass production at the nanoscale requires molecular machines that can control, with high fidelity, the spatial orientation of other reactive species. The demonstration of a synthetic system in which a molecular robotic arm can be used to manipulate the position of a chemical cargo is a significant step towards achieving this goal.

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Figure 1: A hydrazone-based molecular switch.
Figure 2: A multistep switching sequence enables a robotic arm to shift a cargo from one aldehyde docking station to another.


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Correspondence to Ivan Aprahamian.

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Aprahamian, I. Molecules bearing robotic arms. Nature Chem 8, 97–99 (2016).

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