Transient two-dimensional vibrational spectroscopy of an operating molecular machine

Matthijs R. Panman, Chris N. Van Dijk, Adriana Huerta-Viga, Hans J. Sanders, Bert H. Bakker, David A. Leigh, Albert M. Brouwer, Wybren Jan Buma, Sander Woutersen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Synthetic molecular machines are promising building blocks for future nanoscopic devices. However, the details of their mechanical behaviour are in many cases still largely unknown. A deeper understanding of mechanics at the molecular level is essential for the design and construction of complex nanodevices. Here, we show that transient two-dimensional infrared (T2DIR) spectroscopy makes it possible to monitor the conformational changes of a translational molecular machine during its operation. Translation of a macrocyclic ring from one station to another on a molecular thread is initiated by a UV pulse. The arrival of the shuttling macrocycle at the final station is visible from a newly appearing cross peak between these two moieties. To eliminate spectral congestion in the T2DIR spectra, we use a subtraction method applicable to many other complex molecular systems. The T2DIR spectra indicate that the macrocycle adopts a boat-like conformation at the final station, which contrasts with the chair-like conformation at the initial station.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number2206
    JournalNature Communications
    Issue number1
    Early online date20 Dec 2017
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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