Photogearing – A Concept for Translation of Precise Motions at the Nanoscale

23 June 2021, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Molecular gearing systems allow the integration of multiple motions in a correlated fashion, to translate motions from one locality to another and to change their speed and direction. However, currently no powerful concepts exist to implement active driving of gearing motions at the molecular scale. Herein, we present a light-fueled molecular gearing system and evidence its superiority over passive thermally activated gearing. Translation of a 180° rotation into a 120° rotation is achieved while at the same time the direction of the rotation axis is shifted by 120°. Within such photogearing process, precise motions at the nanoscale can be shifted in direction and decelerated similar to macroscopic bevel-gear operations in an energy consuming way – a necessary prerequisite to employ gearing as an active component in future integrated nanomachinery.


Molecular Machines
Molecular Gears

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information for "Photogearing – A Concept for Translation of Precise Motions at the Nanoscale"
HTI-gear 1 synthesis, Determination of HTI-gear 1 constitution and conformation in solution, 1H NMR spectra in different solvents at different temperatures, Physical and photophysical properties, Thermal intercoversions between A and rac-B as well as C and rac-D, Thermal intercoversions between Z-1 and E-1 at elevated temperature, Absorption spectra, Photoconversion of 1 followed by NMR-spectroscopy at -40 °C, Photoconversion of 1 determined by quantum yield measurements, Comprehensive quantum yields by combining E/Z quantum yield und Markov matrix analysis, NMR Spectra, Crystal structure analysis


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