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Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2017 Sep 4;56(37):11209-11212. doi: 10.1002/anie.201704221. Epub 2017 Jun 20.

Cold Snapshot of a Molecular Rotary Motor Captured by High-Resolution Rotational Spectroscopy.

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Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, Luruper Chaussee 149, 22761, Hamburg, Germany.
Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY, Notkestrasse 85, 22607, Hamburg, Germany.
Stratingh Institute for Chemistry and Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 4, 9747, AG, Groningen, The Netherlands.
Van't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Science Park 904, 1098, XH, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Institute of Physical Chemistry, Max-Eyth-Strasse 1, 24118, Kiel, Germany.


We present the first high-resolution rotational spectrum of an artificial molecular rotary motor. By combining chirped-pulse Fourier transform microwave spectroscopy and supersonic expansions, we captured the vibronic ground-state conformation of a second-generation motor based on chiral, overcrowded alkenes. The rotational constants were accurately determined by fitting more than 200 rotational transitions in the 2-4 GHz frequency range. Evidence for dissociation products allowed for the unambiguous identification and characterization of the isolated motor components. Experiment and complementary quantum-chemical calculations provide accurate geometrical parameters for the C27 H20 molecular motor, the largest molecule investigated by high-resolution microwave spectroscopy to date.


high-resolution spectroscopy; large molecules; microwave spectroscopy; molecular motors; structure elucidation

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