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IMM colloquium by prof. Roeland Nolte (Molecular Nanotechnology) (Lecture)

Tuesday 23 May 2017Add to my calendar
from 16:00
prof. Roeland Nolte
Encoding polymers with information. A supramolecular approach

Roeland Nolte-DvA-159906The amount of information trafficking internet nowadays is enormous and will increase further in the near future. It can be expected that in the next decennia the current technologies to store and process data will no longer suffice and that other strategies to handle information have to be developed. One approach is to explore chemical routes, which nature has also followed during evolution: our brain can store and handle very large amounts of data and process them in a way silicon-based computers cannot do. Although brain-like chemical computers are still far beyond reach, it is of interest to explore how atom and molecule-based systems that can write, read, and store information might be designed and constructed.

In this lecture I will discuss our efforts to develop a new technology to write, store, and read information, i.e. on a single polymer chain with the help of “molecular machines” that are inspired by the hypothetical device (Turing machine) proposed by the British mathematician Alan Turing in 1936 as the general basis for the operation of a computer. We are following two approaches. In the first we try to construct molecular machines based on clamp-shaped proteins, which are modified with porphyrin catalysts that can bind to DNA and move along it while modifying the DNA chain in a controlled fashion. In the second approach we use synthetic machines that are derived from chiral porphyrin cages, which bind to synthetic polymers (e.g. polybutadiene) and glide along it while encoding it with chiral epoxide functions, i.e. (R)-epoxide (symbol 0) and (S)-epoxide (symbol 1).  This encoding process, which is in progress, will be controlled by light. The information on the tape will be read by single molecule spectroscopy using a reading device that is also based on a chiral cage compound. It moves along the encoded tape and produces left- or right-handed polarized fluorescence light depending on whether it reads a 0 (R-epoxide) or 1 (S-epoxide). As part of this project we will also try to make the first steps towards chemical computing. The molecular requirements for this will be discussed.

prof. Daniela Wilson