Our research is focused on the design, synthesis, and study of advanced molecular-level devices and their complex 2- or/and 3-dimensional assemblies. Organization of individual molecules into regular arrays should amplify their function and thus lead to new types of smart materials with potential application in nanoelectronics or as novel propulsion systems. This heavily interdisciplinary topic comprises organic chemistry (multistep synthesis of complex molecular machines is a crucial pillar of our research) with physical, material, surface, and theoretical chemistry.
Most of our molecular devices consist of several characteristic building blocks: (i) an anchoring group that holds them on various surfaces, (ii) a bulky unit that helps them organize into 2D or 3D structures, and (iii) various molecular switches (triggered either by light, heat, or a redox reaction) or light-driven molecular motors that act as the functional heart of each machine.
Artificial propulsion systems
Self-propelled synthetic devices that transform chemical energy into mechanical motion are examples of biomimetic nonequilibrium systems. They are of a great interest today, because of their potential applications in nanomachinery, chemical sensing, and nanoscale assembly. Controlled motion at the nano- and micro-scale is ubiquitous in nature. Evolution had hundreds of millions of years to optimize these extraordinary and extremely complex biological machines. Lacking the luxury of time, we would like to take inspiration in these biological systems and intelligently design novel transporting systems based on artificial molecular motors.