Molecular compasses and gyroscopes: Rotary dynamics in the crystalline solid state


Miguel A. Garcia-Garibay,, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, 405 Hilgard Ave, Mol Sci Bldg 4505C, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1569
The potential of controlling rotary dynamics at the molecular level by proper molecular and supramolecular design has been recently recognized within the context of materials science and molecular machinery. In our group, we have been interested in crystalline materials built with molecules that possess a rotating group held together by a rigid frame that can act as a stator. By analogies based in their form and function, we refer to these structures as molecular gyroscopes and molecular compasses, depending on whether or not they have a permanent dipole capable or reorienting in response to external fields. In this paper, we will outline the general guidelines for their design, and recent advances in their preparation, structural characterization, and dynamic properties. The effects of structural modifications of the frame and the rotator will be discussed in detail.