Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Chemistry & Biochemistry

First Advisor

Josef Michl

Second Advisor

Richard K. Shoemaker

Third Advisor

Barney G. Ellison


Molecular rotors, motors, or in broader sense, functional nanostructures belong among the few areas of fundamental science and applied technology that bring together a broad spectrum of scientists from different backgrounds, such as chemists, physicists, engineers and biologists. There are two basic approaches to these molecular machines: one is based on observing biological systems that developed over billions of years, studying them, mimicking them and modifying them. The second approach is based on the design of new artificial materials. The design of artificial molecular machines involves synthetic and computational strategies to learn how to control the degrees of freedom of the system by covalent bonds, intramolecular interactions and self-assembly in order to the achieve the desired molecular function. Further challenge is to translate the function of small molecules into a change in some observable property in order to construct potentially useful materials. One way among many possibilities to achieve a change in macroscopic properties is to control the motion of not only one rotor, but the motion of the whole array of interacting rotors in a correlated fashion. Such materials with controllable average orientation of the rotors can have many useful optical and dielectric properties with applications in display technologies, field effect transistors, signal filtering etc. This work explores two novel approaches to surface mounted two-dimensional arrays of dipolar molecular rotors: arrays of dipolar molecular rotors via surface inclusion compounds and arrays of dipolar molecular rotors via self-assembled Langmuir-Blodgett films.

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