Design, Synthesis, and Monitoring of Light-Activated Motorized Nanomachines
Tour, James M.
Doctor of Philosophy
Our group has developed a family of single molecules termed nanocars, which are aimed at performing controllable motion on surfaces. In this work, a series of light-activated motorized nanomachines incorporated with a MHz frequency light-activated unidirectional rotary motor were designed and synthesized. We hope the light-activated motor can serve as the powering unit for the nanomachines, and perform controllable translational motion on surfaces or in solution. A series of motorized nanovehicles intended for scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) imaging were designed and synthesized. A p-carborane-wheeled motorized nanocar was synthesized and monitored by STM. Single-molecule imaging was accomplished on a Cu(111) surface. However, further manipulations did lead to motor induced lateral motion. We attributed this result to the strong molecule-surface interactions between the p-carborane-wheeled nanocar and the Cu(111) surface. To fine-tune the molecule-surface interactions, an adamantane-wheeled motorized nanocar and a three-wheel nanoroadster were designed and synthesized. In addition, the STM substrates will be varied and different combinations of molecule-surface interactions will be studied. As a complimentary imaging method to STM, single-molecule fluorescence microscopy (SMFM) also provides single-molecule level resolution. Unlike STM experiment requires ultra-high vacuum and conductive substrate, SMFM experiment is conducted at ambient conditions and uses non-conductive substrate. This imaging method allows us to study another category of molecule-surface interactions. We plan to design a fluorescent motorized nanocar that is suitable for SMFM studies. However, both the motor and fluorophore are photochemically active molecules. In proximity, some undesired energy transfer or interference could occur. A cyanine 5- (cy5-) tagged motorized nanocar incorporated with the MHz motor was designed and synthesized in order to minimize the potential energy transfer or interference between the motor and the fluorophore. The SMFM study of this cy5-tagged motorized nanocar is currently undergoing. The design of light-activated motorized nanocar inspired the design of nanosubmarines. We used fluorescence quenching and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) to study the diffusion of single molecules. The fluorescence quenching experiments of Ru(bpy)3+2 by a quenching nanosubmarine was conducted, but no motor induced acceleration of the molecule were observed. Another fluorescent nanosubmarine was monitored by FCS, and no increase of diffusion coefficient was found. Finally, a 1-D channel approach was adopted for decreasing the effects of Brownian motion, and acceleration of nanosubmarine was observed.