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Directing Coupled Motion with Light: A Key Step Toward Machine-Like Function
Chemical Reviews  (IF60.622),  Pub Date : 2021-09-17, DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemrev.1c00340
Romain Costil, Mira Holzheimer, Stefano Crespi, Nadja A. Simeth, Ben L. Feringa

Molecular photoactuators can control shape and chemical or physical properties of the responsive system they are embedded in. These effects are usually mediated by supramolecular interactions and can be amplified to perform work at the micro- and macroscopic scale, for instance, in materials and biomimetic systems. While many studies focus on the observable outcome of these events, photoresponsive structures can also translate their conformational change to molecular components and perform work against random Brownian motion. Stereochemical cascades can amplify light-generated motion to a distant moiety of the same molecule or molecular assembly, via conformationally restricted stereogenic elements. Being able to control the conformation or motion of molecular systems remotely provides prospects for the design of the smallest machines imaginable. This Focus Review emphasizes the emergence of directed, coupled motion of remote functionalities triggered by light-powered switches and motors as a tool to control molecular topology and function.