Current-Driven Supramolecular Motor with In Situ Surface Chiral Directionality Switching

Surface-supported molecular motors are nanomechanical devices of particular interest in terms of future nanoscale applications. However, the molecular motors realized so far consist of covalently bonded groups that cannot be reconfigured without undergoing a chemical reaction. Here we demonstrate that a platinum-porphyrin-based supramolecularly assembled dimer supported on a Au(111) surface can be rotated with high directionality using the tunneling current of a scanning tunneling microscope (STM). Rotational direction of this molecular motor is determined solely by the surface chirality of the dimer, and most importantly, the chirality can be inverted in situ through a process involving an intradimer rearrangement. Our result opens the way for the construction of complex molecular machines on a surface to mimic at a smaller scale versatile biological supramolecular motors.