Pumps through the Ages

Yunyan Qiu, Yuanning Feng, Qing Hui Guo, R. Dean Astumian*, J. Fraser Stoddart*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Artificial molecular machines (AMMs) have profoundly enhanced scientists’ capability to manipulate the relative movements of components within molecules. Mechanically interlocked molecules (MIMs) with movable components have contributed to the design and synthesis of AMMs. The operation of these wholly synthetic molecular machines away from equilibrium is governed by ratchet mechanisms that require a supply of energy. In this review, we discuss the emergence of pumps, both natural and crafted through the ages, focusing on recent advances toward the design and synthesis of artificial molecular pumps (AMPs) that are capable of creating local concentrations of rings on collecting chains. We conclude our discussion by considering a recently reported catalysis-driven AMM and the ramifications for exploiting catalysis to control non-equilibrium behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1952-1977
Number of pages26
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 6 2020


  • Brownian ratchets
  • SDG12: Responsible consumption and production
  • SDG3: Good health and well-being
  • SDG9: Industry, innovation, and infrastructure
  • artificial molecular machines
  • directional transport
  • kinetic asymmetry
  • mechanically interlocked molecules
  • non-equilibrium systems
  • pumping cassette

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Materials Chemistry


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