Quantum dynamics of light-driven chiral molecular motors

Masahiro Yamaki, Shin Ichiro Nakayama, Kunihito Hoki, Hirohiko Kono, Yuichi Fujimura

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The results of theoretical studies on quantum dynamics of light-driven molecular motors with internal rotation are presented. Characteristic features of chiral motors driven by a non-helical, linearly polarized electric field of light are explained on the basis of symmetry argument. The rotational potential of the chiral motor is characterized by a ratchet form. The asymmetric potential determines the directional motion: the rotational direction is toward the gentle slope of the asymmetric potential. This direction is called the intuitive direction. To confirm the unidirectional rotational motion, results of quantum dynamical calculations of randomly-oriented molecular motors are presented. A theoretical design of the smallest light-driven molecular machine is presented. The smallest chiral molecular machine has an optically driven engine and a running propeller on its body. The mechanisms of transmission of driving forces from the engine to the propeller are elucidated by using a quantum dynamical treatment. The results provide a principle for control of optically-driven molecular bevel gears. Temperature effects are discussed using the density operator formalism. An effective method for ultrafast control of rotational motions in any desired direction is presented with the help of a quantum control theory. In this method, visible or UV light pulses are applied to drive the motor via an electronic excited state. A method for driving a large molecular motor consisting of an aromatic hydrocarbon is presented. The molecular motor is operated by interactions between the induced dipole of the molecular motor and the electric field of light pulses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1662-1678
Number of pages17
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Mar 11

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Quantum dynamics of light-driven chiral molecular motors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this