A Photochemical Method to Evidence Directional Molecular Motions

28 July 2022, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Light driven synthetic molecular motors represent crucial building blocks for advanced molecular machines and their applications. A standing challenge is the development of very fast molecular motors able to perform rotations with kHz, MHz or even faster frequencies. Central to this challenge is the direct experimental evidence of directionality because analytical methods able to follow very fast motions rarely deliver precise geometrical insights. Here, a general photochemical method for elucidation of directional motions is presented. In a macrocyclization approach the molecular motor rotations are restricted and forced to proceed in two separate ~180° rotation-photoequilibria. Therefore, all four possible photoinduced rotation steps (clockwise and counterclockwise directions) can be quantified. Comparison of the corresponding quantum yields to the unrestricted motor delivers direct evidence for unidirectionality. This method can be used for any ultrafast molecular motor even in cases where no high energy intermediates are present during the rotation cycle.


Molecular Motor
Molecular Machine
Unidirectional Motion
Quantum Yield

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information
Details of synthesis, isomer separation and identification, photochemical, photophysical and thermal behavior, quantum yield measurements, NMR spectra, theoretical description, and crystal structural data


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.