With this Chemical Bonding Center (CBC) Phase I, Step II award, the Division of Chemistry and the Office of Multidisciplinary Activities of the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate jointly support the research of Milan N. Stojanovic, of Columbia University, who will lead a collaborative effort involving eight PIs from a variety of institutions to create a Center for Molecular Cybernetics. The unified goal of this center is to produce synthetic molecular machines that are powered by molecular bond formation. Chemical structures that will have two or more protruding appendages of DNA will be synthesized. These appendages, or arms of molecular "spiders", will have the ability to attach to or detach from a position on a surface in response to external stimulus. When a spider arm reattaches to a different position, the spider will move across the surface. The successful construction and description of these autonomously moving molecules will generate both scientific and public interest, and these studies have the potential to lead to applications in areas such as drug delivery and nanopatterning.
Chemical Bonding Centers are designed to focus innovative collaborative efforts that address a "big problem" which will lead to a major advance in chemistry or at the interface of chemistry and other sciences and will have the potential to attract broad scientific and public interest.