Transient two-dimensional vibrational spectroscopy of an operating molecular machine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • External authors:
  • Matthijs R. Panman
  • Chris N. Van Dijk
  • Adriana Huerta-Viga
  • Hans J. Sanders
  • Bert H. Bakker
  • Albert M. Brouwer
  • Wybren Jan Buma
  • Sander Woutersen


Synthetic molecular machines are promising building blocks for future nanoscopic devices. However, the details of their mechanical behaviour are in many cases still largely unknown. A deeper understanding of mechanics at the molecular level is essential for the design and construction of complex nanodevices. Here, we show that transient two-dimensional infrared (T2DIR) spectroscopy makes it possible to monitor the conformational changes of a translational molecular machine during its operation. Translation of a macrocyclic ring from one station to another on a molecular thread is initiated by a UV pulse. The arrival of the shuttling macrocycle at the final station is visible from a newly appearing cross peak between these two moieties. To eliminate spectral congestion in the T2DIR spectra, we use a subtraction method applicable to many other complex molecular systems. The T2DIR spectra indicate that the macrocycle adopts a boat-like conformation at the final station, which contrasts with the chair-like conformation at the initial station.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Article number2206
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Early online date20 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017