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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P033490/1
Title: Interlocked fullerene and endohedral metallofullerene hosts for molecular machine-like sensing
Principal Investigator: Beer, Professor PD
Other Investigators:
Davis, Professor J Porfyrakis, Professor K
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Oxford Chemistry
Organisation: University of Oxford
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 September 2017 Ends: 31 August 2020 Value (£): 875,651
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Analytical Science Chemical Synthetic Methodology
Surfaces & Interfaces
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
25 Apr 2017 EPSRC Physical Sciences - April 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Mechanically interlocked molecules such as rotaxanes, which resemble a molecular abacus with rod-like molecules passing through one or more rings and catenanes, which are two or more interpenetrating rings, are firmly established entities in the field of nanoscale molecular machines because of their ability to undergo controlled and reversible molecular motion through changes in the relative positions of their constituent parts. The inherent dynamics of such molecules can be controlled by light, electrochemical and chemical-based stimuli. This proposal aims to exploit their unique topological interlocked host cavities to recognize guest molecules as a means of causing the ring component of a rotaxane or catenane to move from one position to another along an rod-like axle or larger ring component as a sophisticated means of sensing negatively charged species of biological, medical and environmental importance.

Through the attachment of nanoscale 'light bulbs' including luminescent metal 'filaments' inside an all carbon sphere-like football, to specific positions on the ring and axle components, the switching on or off of the light bulb is designed to occur when a target negatively charged species is recognised and causes ring components to slide or shuttle from one station position to another. Such materials can be thought of as "molecular machine-like sensors".

Coating these materials on to conducting and optically transparent surfaces will produce devices that will change colour and/or emit light and undergo electrochemical perturbation in response to the addition of a specific negatively charged substrate. Fundamentally, the project will add considerable volume to our understanding of how complex molecular architectures, designed to exhibit dynamic motion, respond when confined to the sorts of surfaces that will, ultimately, underpin their application.

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Organisation Website: http://www.ox.ac.uk