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On the Transition from a Biomimetic Molecular Switch to a Rotary Molecular Motor

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journal contribution
posted on 15.04.2021, 18:04 by Marco Paolino, Tommaso Giovannini, Madushanka Manathunga, Loredana Latterini, Giulia Zampini, Robin Pierron, Jérémie Léonard, Stefania Fusi, Gianluca Giorgi, Germano Giuliani, Andrea Cappelli, Chiara Cappelli, Massimo Olivucci
The experimental investigation of the unidirectional motion characterizing the photoisomerization of single-molecule rotary motors requires accessible lab prototypes featuring an electronic circular dichroism (ECD) signal that is sensitive to the geometrical and electronic changes occurring during an ultrafast reactive process. Here we report a combined experimental/computational study of a candidate obtained via the asymmetrization of a light-driven biomimetic molecular switch. We show that the achieved motor has an ECD band that is remarkably sensitive to the isomerization motion, and it is therefore suitable for time-resolved ECD studies. However, we also find that, unexpectedly, the synthesized motor isomerizes on a time scale longer than the subpicosecond time measured for the achiral parent, a result that points to alternative candidates conserving a high reaction speed.