Ever since their discovery, stable organic radicals have received considerable attention from chemists because of their unique optical, electronic, and magnetic properties. Currently, one of the most appealing challenges for the chemical community is to develop sophisticated artificial molecular machines that can do work by consuming external energy, after the manner of motor proteins. In this context, radical-pairing interactions are important in addressing the challenge: they not only provide supramolecular assistance in the synthesis of molecular machines but also open the door to developing multifunctional systems relying on the various properties of the radical species. In this Outlook, by taking the radical cationic state of 1,1′-dialkyl-4,4′-bipyridinium (BIPY•+) as an example, we highlight our research on the art and science of introducing radical-pairing interactions into functional systems, from prototypical molecular switches to complex molecular machines, followed by a discussion of the (i) limitations of the current systems and (ii) future research directions for designing BIPY•+-based molecular machines with useful functions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)