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Light Driven Ultrafast Bioinspired Molecular Motors: Steering and Accelerating Photoisomerization Dynamics of Retinal

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  • Elisabeth Gruber
  • ,
  • Adil M. Kabylda, Lomonosov Moscow State University
  • ,
  • Mogens Brøndsted Nielsen, Københavns Universitet
  • ,
  • Anne P. Rasmussen
  • Ricky Teiwes
  • ,
  • Pavel A. Kusochek, Lomonosov Moscow State University
  • ,
  • Anastasia V. Bochenkova, Lomonosov Moscow State University
  • ,
  • Lars H. Andersen

Photoisomerization of retinal protonated Schiff base in microbial and animal rhodopsins are strikingly ultrafast and highly specific. Both protein environments provide conditions for fine-tuning the photochemistry of their chromophores. Here, by combining time-resolved action absorption spectroscopy and high-level electronic structure theory, we show that similar control can be gained in a synthetically engineered retinal chromophore. By locking the dimethylated retinal Schiff base at the C11═C12 double bond in its trans configuration (L-RSB), the excited-state decay is rendered from a slow picosecond to an ultrafast subpicosecond regime in the gas phase. Steric hindrance and pretwisting of L-RSB are found to be important for a significant reduction in the excited-state energy barriers, where isomerization of the locked chromophore proceeds along C9═C10 rather than the preferred C11═C12 isomerization path. Remarkably, the accelerated excited-state dynamics also becomes steered. We show that L-RSB is capable of unidirectional 360° rotation from all-trans to 9-cis and from 9-cis to all-trans in only two distinct steps induced by consecutive absorption of two 600 nm photons. This opens a way for the rational design of red-light-driven ultrafast molecular rotary motors based on locked retinal chromophores.

TidsskriftJournal of the American Chemical Society
Sider (fra-til)69-73
Antal sider5
StatusUdgivet - 12 jan. 2022

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