A Light-Driven Linear Motor at the Molecular Level

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Science  16 Mar 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5511, pp. 2105-2106
DOI: 10.1126/science.1059590

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Catenanes (interlocking rings) and rotaxanes (a dumbbell threaded through a ring) are molecules that have intrigued chemists for many years but remained curiosities until their synthesis was facilitated. In his Perspective, Sauvage highlights the report by Brouwer et al., who demonstrate a rotaxane-based linear molecular motor driven entirely by light. Such structures may serve as model systems for biological motion and may be used in nanotechnological devices.