Spinning in Concert

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Science  04 Jul 2008:
Vol. 321, Issue 5885, pp. 17
DOI: 10.1126/science.321.5885.17a

In macroscopic machines, gears are commonly used to induce the synchronous motion of wellseparated components. Hiraoka et al. observe a similar effect at the nanoscale in a stack of four ligands held together by mutual coordination to metal ions. The ligands consist of multiple oxazoline or thiazole rings appended to a central phenyl core. Upon binding silver or mercuric ions, these pendant rings adopt a common cant (shown at right) that creates an overall helicity, with the central ligands transmitting an orientational bias from one capping ligand to the other. Using solution-phase nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, the authors demonstrate that a helix inversion in one component of the stack induces a cascade of inversions throughout, thereby correlating the motion of molecules spaced more than a nanometer apart. — JSY

J. Am. Chem. Soc. 130, 10.1021/ja8014583 (2008).

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