Developing the world’s smallest machines: Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Fraser Stoddart and Bernard Feringa
Jean-Pierre Sauvage took the first step towards a molecular machine in 1983, when he successfully linked two ring-shaped molecules together to form a chain, called a catenane. The molecules in this chain are linked by a mechanical bond, allowing the two interlocked rings to move relative to each other, performing like a tiny machine.
Fraser Stoddart took the second step in 1991, when he developed a rotaxane by threading a molecular ring onto a thin molecular axle. The ring is able to move along the axle enabling a number of developments such as a molecular lift, a molecular muscle and a molecule-based computer chip.
Bernard Feringa took the third step by developing the first molecular motor in 1999 when he got a molecular rotor blade to spin continually in the same direction. Using molecular motors, he has rotated a glass cylinder that is 10,000 times bigger than the motor and also designed a nanocar!
The ground breaking steps taken by the 2016 Nobel Laureates in Chemistry in developing molecular machinery have resulted in a toolbox of chemical structures that can be used by researchers around the world to build anything from artificial switches and release-targeted drugs to novel energy storage systems!
Integrated motion of molecular machines in supramolecular polymeric scaffolds
Xuzhou Yan, Bo Zheng and Feihe Huang
Polym. Chem., 2013, 4, 2395-2399
Topological energy storage of work generated by nanomotors
Fabian Weysser, Olivier Benzerara, Albert Johner and Igor M. Kulić
Soft Matter, 2015, 11, 732-740
Hydrodynamics and propulsion mechanism of self-propelled catalytic micromotors: model and experiment
Longqiu Li, Jiyuan Wang, Tianlong Li, Wenping Song and Guangyu Zhang
Soft Matter, 2014, 10, 7511-7518
Construction of muscle-like metallo-supramolecular polymers from a pillararene-based [c2]daisy chain
Lingyan Gao, Zibin Zhang, Bo Zheng and Feihe Huang
Polym. Chem., 2014, 5, 5734-5739
An acid/base switchable and reversibly cross-linkable polyrotaxane
Shijun Li, Guan-Huan Weng, Wei Lin, Zhi-Bin Sun, Mi Zhou, Bin Zhu, Yang Ye and Jing Wu
Polym. Chem., 2014, 5, 3994-4001
Dual stimuli-responsive supramolecular pseudo-polyrotaxane hydrogels
Lipeng Zhou, Jiaxi Li, Quan Luo, Junyan Zhu, Huixin Zou, Yuzhou Gao, Liang Wang, Jiayun Xu, Zeyuan Dong and Junqiu Liu
Soft Matter, 2013, 9, 4635-4641
pH-responsive dendritic polyrotaxane drug-polymer conjugates forming nanoparticles as efficient drug delivery system for cancer therapy
Yang Kang, Xiao-Mei Zhang, Sheng Zhang, Li-Sheng Ding and Bang-Jing Li
Polym. Chem., 2015, 6, 2098-2107
Phototriggered supramolecular polymerization of a [c2]daisy chain rotaxane
Xin Fu, Rui-Rui Gu, Qi Zhang, Si-Jia Rao, Xiu-Li Zheng, Da-Hui Qu and He Tian
Polym. Chem., 2016, 7, 2166-2170