Molecular Robotics for the Transport and Programmable Synthesis of Small Molecules

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Salma Kassem


In his 1959 lecture ‘There’s plenty of room at the bottom’, Nobel laureate Richard P. Feynman proposed that it should be possible to mechanically manipulate matter on the atomic scale. K. Eric Drexler suggested later that nanoscopic machines should be capable of positioning atoms, or clusters of atoms, with atomic precision that they could one day be used to assemble almost any substance or material. Despite being “unlikely to be realized”, the idea of using molecules to manipulate other molecules in a robotic fashion has inspired chemists to develop some of the most sophisticated molecular machines known to date. While having much precedence in biology, molecular-sized ‘assemblers’ remain a fascinating challenge to the synthetic chemist. The research presented in this thesis explores the growing field of molecular robotics, investigating and developing the use of a wholly artificial robotic arm system for the mechanical manipulation of small molecules cargoes and the programmed synthesis of complex substrates.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Aug 2018