Adhesion of Photon-Driven Molecular Motors to Surfaces <i>via</i> 1,3-Dipolar Cycloadditions: Effect of Interfacial Interactions on Molecular Motion

We report the attachment of altitudinal light-driven molecular motors to surfaces using 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition reactions. Molecular motors were designed containing azide or alkyne groups for attachment to alkyne- or azide-modified surfaces. Surface attachment was characterized by UV−vis, IR, XPS, and ellipsometry measurements. Surface-bound motors were found to undergo photochemical and thermal isomerizations consistent with unidirectional rotation in solution. Confinement at a surface was found to reduce the rate of the thermal isomerization process. The rate of thermal isomerization was also dependent on the surface coverage of the motors. In solution, changes in the UV−vis signal that accompany thermal isomerization can be fit with a single monoexponential decay. In contrast, thermal isomerization of the surface-bound motors does not follow a single monoexponential decay and was found to fit a biexponential decay. Both one- and two-legged motors were attached to surfaces. The kinetics of thermal isomerization was not affected by the valency of attachment, indicating that the changes in kinetics from solution to surface systems are related to interactions between the surface-bound motors.