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A chemically powered unidirectional rotary molecular motor based on a palladium redox cycle

Nature Chemistry volume 8, pages 860866 (2016) | Download Citation

Abstract

The conversion of chemical energy to drive directional motion at the molecular level allows biological systems, ranging from subcellular components to whole organisms, to perform a myriad of dynamic functions and respond to changes in the environment. Directional movement has been demonstrated in artificial molecular systems, but the fundamental motif of unidirectional rotary motion along a single-bond rotary axle induced by metal-catalysed transformation of chemical fuels has not been realized, and the challenge is to couple the metal-centred redox processes to stepwise changes in conformation to arrive at a full unidirectional rotary cycle. Here, we present the design of an organopalladium-based motor and the experimental demonstration of a 360° unidirectional rotary cycle using simple chemical fuels. Exploiting fundamental reactivity principles in organometallic chemistry enables control of directional rotation and offers the potential of harnessing the wealth of opportunities offered by transition-metal-based catalytic conversions to drive motion and dynamic functions.

  • Compound

    M-biaryl sulfoxide

  • Compound

    P-biaryl sulfoxide

  • Compound

    Choro-bridged C–H activated palladacycle

  • Compound

    Pyridine derivative of C–H activated palladacycle

  • Compound

    Oxidative addition palladacycle

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported financially by the European Research Council (Advanced Investigator Grant no. 227897 to B.L.F.), The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO-CW), funding from the Ministry of Education and Science (Gravitation programme 024.001.035) and The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Centre for Systems Chemistry, Stratingh Institute for Chemistry and Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 4, 9747 AG Groningen, The Netherlands

    • Beatrice S. L. Collins
    • , Jos C. M. Kistemaker
    • , Edwin Otten
    •  & Ben L. Feringa

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Contributions

B.S.L.C. and B.L.F. conceived the project. B.S.L.C. performed the experimental work. J.C.M.K. performed the computational chemistry. E.O. solved the crystal structures. B.S.L.C. and B.L.F. wrote the manuscript. All authors read and commented on the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ben L. Feringa.

Supplementary information

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  1. 1.

    Supplementary information

    Supplementary information

Crystallographic information files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary information

    Crystallographic data for compound (+-)-Pd[(R,M)-3]BrPCy3

  2. 2.

    Supplementary information

    Crystallographic data for compound (S,M)-1

  3. 3.

    Supplementary information

    Crystallographic data for compound (S,P)-1

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nchem.2543

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