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Article contents

Molecular, Supramolecular, and Macromolecular Motors and Artificial Muscles

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 January 2011

Abstract

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Recent developments in chemical synthesis, nanoscale assembly, and molecular-scale measurements enable the extension of the concept of macroscopic machines to the molecular and supramolecular levels. Molecular machines are capable of performing mechanical movements in response to external stimuli. They offer the potential to couple electrical or other forms of energy to mechanical action at the nano- and molecular scales. Working hierarchically and in concert, they can form actuators referred to as artificial muscles, in analogy to biological systems. We describe the principles behind driven motion and assembly at the molecular scale and recent advances in the field of molecular-level electromechanical machines, molecular motors, and artificial muscles. We discuss the challenges and successes in making these assemblies work cooperatively to function at larger scales.

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Copyright © Materials Research Society 2009

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