Congratulations to Bernard “Ben” L. Feringa, of the University of Groningen in The Netherlands, who shared the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Jean-Pierre Sauvage, of the University of Strasbourg in France, and Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, of Northwestern University in the U.S. They were rewarded “for the design and synthesis of molecular machines.”
Dr. Sauvage was the first, in 1983, to create a catenane, a chain of mechanically interlocked molecular rings. Eight years later, Dr. Stoddart built upon this by creating a rotaxane, a molecular ring threaded through a molecular axle.
Using these techniques, in 1999, Dr. Feringa was able to create the first molecular motor. This will allow for the development of new materials and sensors, and more. Read about possible applications of molecular motors in the 2011 Annual Review of Bioengineering.
Read Dr. Feringa’s article about molecular motors and light switching of surfaces in the 2009 Annual Review of Physical Chemistry.