The research team of Professor Teruo Ono of the Institute of Science, Kyoto University created an artificial molecular motor using supermolecules, and realized the operation of rotating the motor in the reverse direction by rearranging the bonds between the molecules.Molecular motors are used for the movement of unicellular organisms and are indispensable for life activities.Taking this as a hint, it is a big dream of nanotechnology to make an artificial molecular motor and make it into a component of a nanoscale machine.

 The feature of this research is that it uses supramolecular substances.Ordinary molecules are connected by covalent bonds in which atoms are strongly bonded to each other.Furthermore, molecules with a high-level structure are supramolecular by assembling multiple molecules to form weak bonds such as hydrogen bonds.The molecular motors manufactured so far are composed of strong bonds, and once manufactured, the structure cannot be rearranged and it is difficult to control the direction of rotation.On the other hand, molecular motors composed of supramolecular substances can be restructured relatively easily.The material used was a porphyrin derivative, a plate-shaped molecule that forms hydrogen bonds.By inserting a metal atom into the hole in the center of the plate, it can be rotated around it.Furthermore, we succeeded in changing the direction of rotation by rearranging the hydrogen bonds. 

 Molecular motors possessed by living organisms have a more complicated structure than artificial ones, and the details of their operation are not yet known.Research on artificial molecular motors may provide clues to such a mystery.Not only that, we aim to build more complex and advanced nanoscale machines by manufacturing and combining multiple parts. The hint to realize the minute machine that appears in science fiction may be in life.

Source:[Kyoto University] Supramolecular control of rotation direction of artificial molecular motors-Opening the way to mass production of flexible nanomachines-

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