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Issue 6, 2009
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Light powered molecular machines

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The bottom-up construction and operation of mechanical machines of molecular size is a topic of high interest for nanoscience, and a fascinating challenge of nanotechnology. Like their macroscopic counterparts, nanoscale machines need energy to operate. Although most molecular motors of the biological world are fueled by chemical reactions, light is a very good choice to power artificial molecular machines because it can also be used to monitor the state of the machine, and makes it possible to obtain systems that show autonomous operation and do not generate waste products. By adopting an incrementally staged design strategy, photoinduced processes can be engineered within multicomponent (supramolecular) species with the purpose of obtaining light-powered molecular machines. Such an approach is illustrated in this tutorial review by describing some examples based on rotaxanes investigated in our laboratories.

Graphical abstract: Light powered molecular machines

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Publication details

The article was received on 19 Dec 2008 and first published on 18 Mar 2009

Article type: Tutorial Review
DOI: 10.1039/B806328C
Citation: Chem. Soc. Rev., 2009,38, 1542-1550

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    Light powered molecular machines

    V. Balzani, A. Credi and M. Venturi, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2009, 38, 1542
    DOI: 10.1039/B806328C

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