Natural and artificial autonomous molecular machines operate by constantly dissipating energy coming from an external source to maintain a non-equilibrium state. Quantitative thermodynamic characterization of these dissipative states is highly challenging as they exist only as long as energy is provided. Here we report on the detailed physicochemical characterization of the dissipative operation of a supramolecular pump. The pump transduces light energy into chemical energy by bringing self-assembly reactions to non-equilibrium steady states. The composition of the system under light irradiation was followed in real time by 1H NMR for four different irradiation intensities. The experimental composition and photon flow were then fed into a theoretical model describing the non-equilibrium dissipation and the energy storage at the steady state. We quantitatively probed the relationship between the light energy input and the deviation of the dissipative state from thermodynamic equilibrium in this artificial system. Our results provide a testing ground for newly developed theoretical models for photoactivated artificial molecular machines operating away from thermodynamic equilibrium.
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Financial support from the EU (H2020 ERC AdG 692981 and ERC-2015-CoG n. 681456) and the Ministero dell’Università e della Ricerca (PRIN 20173L7W8K and 201732PY3X, FARE R16S9XXKX3) is gratefully acknowledged.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Corra, S., Bakić, M.T., Groppi, J. et al. Kinetic and energetic insights into the dissipative non-equilibrium operation of an autonomous light-powered supramolecular pump. Nat. Nanotechnol. 17, 746–751 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41565-022-01151-y
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