A Mechanical Actuator Driven Electrochemically by Artificial Molecular Muscles

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A microcantilever, coated with a monolayer of redox-controllable, bistable [3]rotaxane molecules (artificial molecular muscles), undergoes reversible deflections when subjected to alternating oxidizing and reducing electrochemical potentials. The microcantilever devices were prepared by precoating one surface with a gold film and allowing the palindromic [3]rotaxane molecules to adsorb selectively onto one side of the microcantilevers, utilizing thiol-gold chemistry. An electrochemical cell was employed in the experiments, and deflections were monitored both as a function of (i) the scan rate (<= 20 mV s(-1)) and (ii) the time for potential step experiments at oxidizing (> +0.4 V) and reducing (< +0.2 V) potentials. The different directions and magnitudes of the deflections for the microcantilevers, which were coated with artificial molecular muscles, were compared with (i) data from nominally bare microcantilevers precoated with gold and (ii) those coated with two types of control compounds, namely, dumbbell molecules to simulate the redox activity of the palindromic bistable [3]rotaxane molecules and inactive 1-dodecanethiol molecules. The comparisons demonstrate that the artificial molecular muscles are responsible for the deflections, which can be repeated over many cycles. The microcantilevers deflect in one direction following oxidation and in the opposite direction upon reduction. The similar to 550 nm deflections were calculated to be commensurate with forces per molecule of similar to 650 pN. The thermal relaxation that characterizes the device's deflection is consistent with the double bistability associated with the palindromic [3]rotaxane and reflects a metastable contracted state. The use of the cooperative forces generated by these self-assembled, nanometer-scale artificial molecular muscles that are electrically wired to an external power supply constitutes a seminal step toward molecular-machine-based nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS).
Publisher
AMER CHEMICAL SOC
Issue Date
2009-02
Language
English
Article Type
Article
Keywords

SELF-ASSEMBLED MONOLAYERS; CARBON-NANOTUBE ACTUATORS; INTERLOCKED MOLECULES; ELECTRONIC DEVICES; SURFACE STRESS; POLYMER GELS; MACHINES; MOTORS; MOTION; NANOVALVES

Citation

ACS NANO, v.3, no.2, pp.291 - 300

ISSN
1936-0851
DOI
10.1021/nn8002373
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10203/94065
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