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Friction in Carborane-Based Molecular Rotors Driven by Gas Flow or Electric Field: Classical Molecular Dynamics

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journal contribution
posted on 27.03.2012, 00:00 by Alexandr Prokop, Jaroslav Vacek, Josef Michl
Friction in molecular rotors is examined by classical molecular dynamics simulations for grid-mounted azimuthal dipolar molecular rotors, whose rotation is either allowed to decay freely or is driven at GHz frequencies by a flow of rare gas or by a rotating electric field. The rotating parts (rotators) are propeller-shaped. Their two to six blades consist of condensed aromatic rings and are attached to a deltahedral carborane hub, whose antipodal carbons carry [n]staffane axles mounted on a square molecular grid. The dynamic friction constant η has been derived in several independent ways with similar results. Analysis of free rotation decay yields η as a continuous exponentially decreasing function of rotor frequency. The calculated dependence of friction torque on frequency resembles the classical macroscopic Stribeck curve. Its relation to rotational potential energy barriers and the key role of the rate of intramolecular vibrational redistribution (IVR) of energy and angular momentum from rotator rotation to other modes are considered in two limiting regimes. (i) In the strongly overdamped regime, rotation is much slower than IVR, and effective friction can be expressed through potential barriers to rotation. (ii) In the strongly underdamped regime, rotation is much faster than IVR, whose rate then determines friction.