ISCR Webinar - Roeland NOLTE

Encoding information into polymers : A supramolecular approach

Emeritus Professor
Radboud University, The Netherlands


Thursday, September 9th, 11:00 CET


Preceded by a short communication by an ISCR PhD student


For non-ISCR members, register at animation-iscratuniv-rennes1 [dot] franimation-iscratuniv-rennes1 [dot] fr ()animation-iscratuniv-rennes1 [dot] fr ()animation-iscratuniv-rennes1 [dot] fr ()animation-iscratuniv-rennes1 [dot] fr ()animation-iscratuniv-rennes1 [dot] fr ()animation-iscratuniv-rennes1 [dot] fr ()

Roeland J.M. Nolte is Emeritus Professor of Organic Chemistry at Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands and former Director of the Institute for Molecules and Materials of this university. He is a member of several learned societies, including the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts, and the Academia Europaea. He currently holds a special University Chair in Molecular Nanotechnology at Radboud University. His research interests span a broad range of topics at the interfaces of Supramolecular Chemistry, Macromolecular Chemistry, and Biomimetic Chemistry, in which he focuses on the design of catalysts and (macro) molecular materials.

The amount of information trafficking internet nowadays is enormous and we can foresee that in the next decennia the current technologies to process data will no longer suffice. Hence, we have to consider other strategies of handling information. One approach is to explore chemical routes, which nature has also followed during evolution: our brain can store and handle very large amounts of data and process them in a way silicon-based computers cannot do. Although brain-like chemical computers are still far beyond reach, it is of interest to explore how we can design and construct atom- and molecule-based systems for processing information.

In this lecture, I will discuss our efforts to develop technologies to write and store information into single polymer chains with the help of “molecular machines” that are inspired by the hypothetical device (Turing machine) proposed by the mathematician Alan Turing in 1936 as the general basis for the operation of a computer. We use synthetic machines that are derived from chiral porphyrin cages, which thread onto synthetic polymers (e.g. polybutadiene) and glide along it while encoding it with chiral epoxide functions, i.e. (R,R)-epoxide = digit 0 and (S,S)-epoxide = digit 1. The realization of this encoding process, which we control by light, is in progress.1

1  P. J. Gilissen et al, , Molecular motor-functionalized porphyrin macrocycles, Nature Commun. 2020, 11 , 5291.