Unidirectional rotation of micromotors on water powered by pH-controlled disassembly of chiral molecular crystals

Itai Carmeli, Celine M. Bounioux, Philip Mickel, Mark B. Richardson, Yael Templeman, Joel M.P. Scofield, Greg G. Qiao, Brian Ashley Rosen, Yelena Yusupov, Louisa Meshi, Nicolas H. Voelcker, Oswaldo Diéguez, Touvia Miloh, Petr Král*, Hagai Cohen, Shachar E. Richter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Biological and synthetic molecular motors, fueled by various physical and chemical means, can perform asymmetric linear and rotary motions that are inherently related to their asymmetric shapes. Here, we describe silver-organic micro-complexes of random shapes that exhibit macroscopic unidirectional rotation on water surface through the asymmetric release of cinchonine or cinchonidine chiral molecules from their crystallites asymmetrically adsorbed on the complex surfaces. Computational modeling indicates that the motor rotation is driven by a pH-controlled asymmetric jet-like Coulombic ejection of chiral molecules upon their protonation in water. The motor is capable of towing very large cargo, and its rotation can be accelerated by adding reducing agents to the water.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2869
JournalNature Communications
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

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