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Research Vision

Our group explores and discovers efficient strategies to manipulate the molecular-level topological information, dynamics and related functions —— a new independent research filed termed as Molecular Nanotopology. This includes synthetic methodologies to synthesize topologically complex molecules, single-molecule techniques to probe the effects of topological behaviors and smart devices and functional materials to address key challenges in nanogalaxy.

Research Vision

Molecular Nanotopology

Molecular Nanotopology: Aesthetically appealing topologies have encouraged chemists to express their counterparts in molecules. The field of Chemical Topology was introduced into chemical lexicon by Frisch and Wasserman in 1961 in a seminal communication wherein they defined, for example, topological isomerism as two molecules containing the same atoms and chemical bond connectivities but whose structure cannot be interconverted by any kind of deformation in three-dimensional space. Based on the rapid innovative research on molecular knots and links, pioneered by Sauvage and Leigh, a new and independent research field—termed as Molecular Nanotopology by Stoddart—is emerging out of the potpourri of chemical topology, mechanical bonds, and MIMs such as links (catenanes) and knots. Our group focus on inventing new synthetic strategies and modules for construction of topologically complex molecules, exploring the effects of knotting and catenation through different single-molecule techniques and ultimately discovering new smart devices and materials in nanogalaxy.

Molecular weaving

Weaving is one of the oldest and most enduring means of creating materials with improved or different properties to the separated components. The weaving of one-dimensional strands—ranging from threads with diameters measured in millimetres (reeds, plant fibres, etc) to those of a few microns (wool, cotton, synthetic polymers, etc)—into two-dimensional fabrics has underpinned technological progress through the ages. Our group aims to develop experimental progress in the construction of periodic orderly molecular entanglements—forming molecularly woven materials— through knot (topological) theory and investigate the consequences of weaving at molecular level.

Single-molecule studies on artificial small-molecule machines

Molecular machines transduce energy from one form to another through controlled motion in response to stimuli. Despite the ubiquitous use of molecular machines in biology, understanding the detailed mechanisms of such complex structures remains challenging. Recent progress in studying the modes of operation of synthetic small-molecule machines at the single-molecule level has shed new light on the mechanisms of nano-machinery.