A Molecular Dual Pump

Yunyan Qiu, Long Zhang, Cristian Pezzato, Yuanning Feng, Weixingyue Li, Minh T. Nguyen, Chuyang Cheng, Dengke Shen, Qing Hui Guo, Yi Shi, Kang Cai, Fehaid M. Alsubaie, R. Dean Astumian, J. Fraser Stoddart*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Artificial molecular machines (AMMs) built from mechanically interlocked molecules (MIMs) can use energy ratchets to control the unidirectional motion of their component parts. These energy ratchets are operated by the alteration of kinetic barriers and thermodynamic wells, which are, in turn, determined by the switching on and off of noncovalent interactions. Previously, we have developed artificial molecular pumps (AMPs) capable of pumping rings consecutively onto a collecting chain as part of a molecular dumbbell, leading to the formation of rotaxanes. Here, we report a molecular dual pump (MDP) consisting of two individual AMPs linked in a head-to-tail fashion, wherein a single ring is pumped, in a linear manner, on and off a dumbbell involving a [2]rotaxane intermediate by exploiting the redox properties of the two pumps. This MDP, defined by the finely tuned noncovalent interactions and fueled by either chemicals or electricity, utilizes an energy ratchet mechanism to capture a ring and subsequently release it back into solution. The unidirectional motion and the resulting controlled capture and release of the ring were followed by 1D and 2D 1H NMR spectroscopy and supported by control experiments. This molecular dual pump may be considered to be a forerunner of AMMs that are capable of pumping rings across a membrane in a way similar to how bacteriorhodopsin transports protons from one side of a membrane to the other under the influence of light. Such extensive multicomponent AMMs can lead potentially to molecular transporting platforms with positional and directional control of cargo uptake and release when, and only when, instructed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17472-17476
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number44
StatePublished - Nov 6 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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