Sunlight-powered kHz rotation of a hemithioindigo-based molecular motor

Nature Communications, 6, Article number: 8406, doi:10.1038/ncomms9406

Nature Communications, online article

Photodriven molecular motors are able to convert light energy into directional motion and hold great promise as miniaturized powering units for future nanomachines. In the current state of the art, considerable efforts have still to be made to increase the efficiency of energy transduction and devise systems that allow operation in ambient and non-damaging conditions with high rates of directional motions. The need for ultraviolet light to induce the motion of virtually all available light-driven motors especially hampers the broad applicability of these systems. We describe here a hemithioindigo-based molecular motor, which is powered exclusively by nondestructive visible light (up to 500 nm) and rotates completely directionally with kHz frequency at 20 °C. This is the fastest directional motion of a synthetic system driven by visible light to date permitting materials and biocompatible irradiation conditions to establish similarly high speeds as natural molecular motors.


TU München
Helmholtz München
MPI of Neurobiology
MPI of Biochemistry