Light-induced piston nanoengines: ultrafast shuttling of a styryl dye inside cucurbituril†
The combination of photoactive styryl(pyridinium) dyes and cucurbituril (CB) in an integrated supramolecular system allowed us to design a novel high speed molecular machine based on the fully reversible shuttling motion of the dye inside the CB host cavity. The driving force of this movement is the electrostatic potential change after the occurrence of intramolecular charge transfer in the excited state of the dye molecule that can be externally controlled by light. Steady-state and time-resolved optical spectroscopy as well as DFT calculations provided an unambiguous evidence for the ultrafast piston-like movement of the system between two states. The shuttling process occurs in the picosecond timescale and its bistability depends on the strength of the dye donor fragment.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2017 PCCP HOT Articles