A shuttling molecular machine with reversible brake function

Keiji Hirose*, Yoshinobu Shiba, Kazuaki Ishibashi, Yasuko Doi, Tobe Yoshito

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Design, synthesis, and demonstration of a prototype of a shuttling molecular machine with a reversible brake function are reported. It is a photochemically and thermally reactive rotaxane composed of a dianthrylethane-based macrocycle as the ring component and a dumbbell shaped molecular unit with two, secondary ammonium stations separated by a phenylene spacer as the axle component. The rate of shuttling motion was shown to be reduced to less than 1 % (from 340 to <2.5 s-1) by reducing the size of the ring component from 30-crown-8 to 24-crown-8 macrocycles upon photoirradiation. The ring component was turned back to 30-crown-8 by thermal ring opening, thus establishing a reversible brake function that works in response to photochemical and thermal stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3427-3433
Number of pages7
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number11
StatePublished - 7 Apr 2008


  • Crown compounds
  • Molecular devices
  • Noncovalent interactions
  • Photochromism
  • Rotaxanes

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