Veronica Ek、Hanna Hoikkala
2016年10月5日 19:35 JST
原題：Sauvage, Stoddart, Feringa Win 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry（抜粋）
2016年10月05日 19:12 発信地：ストックホルム/スウェーデン
【10月5日 AFP】（写真追加、更新）スウェーデン王立科学アカデミー（Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences）は5日、2016年のノーベル化学賞（Nobel Prize in Chemistry）を、フランスのジャンピエール・ソバージュ（Jean-Pierre Sauvage）、英国のJ・フレーザー・ストッダート（J Fraser Stoddart）、オランダのバーナード・フェリンガ（Bernard Feringa）の3氏に授与すると発表した。授賞理由は分子機械に関する研究。
How molecules became machines
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016 is awarded to Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart and
Bernard L. Feringa for their development of molecular machines that are a thousand times thinner
than a hair strand. This is the story of how they succeeded in linking molecules together to design
everything from a tiny lift to motors and miniscule muscles.
How small can you make machinery? This is the question that Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman, famed
for his 1950s’ predictions of developments in nanotechnology, posed at the start of a visionary lecture in
1984. Barefoot, and wearing a pink polo top and beige shorts, he turned to the audience and said: “Now
let us talk about the possibility of making machines with movable parts, which are very tiny.”
He was convinced it was possible to build machines with dimensions on the nanometre scale. These
already existed in nature. He gave bacterial flagella as an example, corkscrew-shaped macromolecules
which, when they spin, make bacteria move forward. But could humans – with their gigantic
hands – build machines so small that you would need an electron microscope to see them?
A vision of the future – molecular machines will exist within 25–30 years
One possible way would be to build a pair of mechanical hands that are smaller than your own,
which in turn build a pair of smaller hands, which build even smaller hands, and so on, until a pair
of miniscule hands can build equally miniscule machinery. This has been tried, said Feynman, but
without great success.
Another strategy, in which Richard Feynman had more faith, would be to build the machinery from
the bottom up. In his theoretical construction, different substances, such as silicon, are sprayed onto
a surface, one layer of atoms after another. Afterwards, some layers are partially dissolved and removed,
creating moving parts that can be controlled using an electric current. In Feynman’s vision of
the future, such a construction could be used to create an optical shutter for a tiny camera.
The aim of the lecture was to inspire the researchers in the audience, to get them to test the limits
of what they believed possible. When Feynman finally folded up his notes, he looked out at the
audience and said, mischievously: “...have a delightful time in redesigning all kinds of familiar
machinery, to see if you can do it. And give it 25–30 years, there will be some practical use for this.
What it is, I do not know.”
What neither Feynman, nor the researchers in the audience, knew at the time was that the first
step towards molecular machinery had already been taken, but in a rather different way to that
predicted by Feynman.
Mechanically interlocked molecules
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award Jean-Pierre Sauvage,
Sir James Fraser Stoddart and Bernard (Ben) L. Feringa the Nobel Prize in
Chemistry 2016 “for the design and synthesis of molecular machines”
Machines of different types are an integral part of human development, helping us for example to
perform tasks that fall beyond our capacities. Continuously developed in response to our needs
over many millennia, our society has enjoyed an ever increasing plethora of useful machines, with
an enhanced quality of life as a consequence. This progress has accelerated, in particular, since
the industrial revolution, with its key discoveries resulting in a giant leap forward and
dramatically changing the world.
Today, we are at the dawn of a new revolution that will bring us yet another giant leap forward.
Humankind has always striven to push the limits of machine construction and of what machines
can do, and as a consequence attempted to build miniaturised machines of ever smaller size. The
ultimate limit of this endeavour is to make molecular-sized machines, a research frontier that has
intrigued scientists for many years, and that has required the creation of a range of new tools.
Although development towards highly complex and useful molecular machines is still in its
infancy, the laureates have successfully demonstrated that the rational design and synthesis of
molecular machines are indeed possible.
A molecular-level machine can be defined as “an assembly of a distinct number of molecular
components that are designed to perform machinelike movements (output) as a result of an
appropriate external stimulation (input)”.1 Furthermore, a machine requires a supply of energy
for its operation, and can be driven by suitable energy sources.
In parallel with his influence in many other areas, Richard Feynman (Nobel Prize for Physics
1965) has also been a source of inspiration in this field. In a visionary talk at the Annual Meeting
of the American Physical Society in 1959, he drew attention to the possibility of building small
machines from atoms, and to the challenge of, for example, making an infinitesimal machine like
an automobile.2 He also briefly highlighted some of the possibilities and problems associated with
the atomic scale, and later discussed the analysis of a miniature ratchet and pawl device,3 which
to some extent became an inspiration for further progress towards molecular machinery.
In order to construct a complex machine, a number of building blocks are generally required, and
the function of the device is intended to be a consequence of their assembly. The design of the
components, and the control of their integral connectivity, is thus at the heart of machine
development. Furthermore, a high degree of controlled relative motion between its parts is
essential for the machine to produce the desired operation. By controlling the translational and
rotational movements of the components in the machine, coupled to an inflow of external energy,
it is possible to obtain the predetermined function. A machine also needs to interface with its
environment and, when its operations occur at the molecular scale, to be able to overcome thermal
fluctuation (Brownian motion) that influences its mechanical action. This challenge has been
addressed by (theoretical) chemists and physicists with the objective of escaping random noise or
harnessing it for controlled motion.4,5 Ultimately, controlling and driving the machine through
external fuelling by light or other energy sources will lead to it operating out of equilibrium in
dissipative systems. This action is essentially maintained by the machine’s motor components,
which drive the relative movement and functioning of other incorporated parts.
Two major technology advances have proven particularly useful in addressing the complex
challenge of constructing machines at the molecular scale. The first of these involves topological
entanglement and so-called mechanical bonds, while the second is based on isomerisable
(unsaturated) bonds, and both advances have resulted in large ranges of complex structures with
Topological entanglement – mechanical bonds
A substantial part of the progress made towards molecular machinery has its roots in the
emergence of interlocked molecular assemblies based on mechanical bonds. In such assemblies,
the individual parts are not directly connected and held together by covalent bonds, but
inseparably entangled through, for example, loops and stoppers. The individual parts can in
principle move freely relative to each other, though they are confined in space owing to their
mutual mechanical interconnections, resulting in discrete overall molecular structures. The
notion of molecular entities held together by mechanical bonds was proposed as early as the
1950s, in the description of interlocked oligosiloxane- and cyclodextrin-based rings,6,7 but not
until the 1960s could such structures be synthesised and isolated. The syntheses proved
exceedingly challenging, resulting in very low yields and statistical or complex routes of limited
practical consequence. Nonetheless, both catenanes, based on two interlocked rings, and
rotaxanes, based on a ring threaded over an axle with stoppers at each end, were proposed and
synthesised at the time (Figure 1).8–14
Press Release: The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016
5 October 2016
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016 to
University of Strasbourg, France
Sir J. Fraser Stoddart
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA
Bernard L. Feringa
University of Groningen, the Netherlands
"for the design and synthesis of molecular machines"
They developed the world's smallest machines
A tiny lift, artificial muscles and miniscule motors. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016 is awarded to Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa for their design and production of molecular machines. They have developed molecules with controllable movements, which can perform a task when energy is added.
The development of computing demonstrates how the miniaturisation of technology can lead to a revolution. The 2016 Nobel Laureates in Chemistry have miniaturised machines and taken chemistry to a new dimension.
The first step towards a molecular machine was taken by Jean-Pierre Sauvage in 1983, when he succeeded in linking two ring-shaped molecules together to form a chain, called a catenane. Normally, molecules are joined by strong covalent bonds in which the atoms share electrons, but in the chain they were instead linked by a freer mechanical bond. For a machine to be able to perform a task it must consist of parts that can move relative to each other. The two interlocked rings fulfilled exactly this requirement.
The second step was taken by Fraser Stoddart in 1991, when he developed a rotaxane. He threaded a molecular ring onto a thin molecular axle and demonstrated that the ring was able to move along the axle. Among his developments based on rotaxanes are a molecular lift, a molecular muscle and a molecule-based computer chip.
Bernard Feringa was the first person to develop a molecular motor; in 1999 he got a molecular rotor blade to spin continually in the same direction. Using molecular motors, he has rotated a glass cylinder that is 10,000 times bigger than the motor and also designed a nanocar.
2016's Nobel Laureates in Chemistry have taken molecular systems out of equilibrium's stalemate and into energy-filled states in which their movements can be controlled. In terms of development, the molecular motor is at the same stage as the electric motor was in the 1830s, when scientists displayed various spinning cranks and wheels, unaware that they would lead to electric trains, washing machines, fans and food processors. Molecular machines will most likely be used in the development of things such as new materials, sensors and energy storage systems.
Read more about this year's prize
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Image - Elastic molecular structure (pdf 828 kB)
Image - Molecular elevator (pdf 978 kB)
Image - Molecular chain (pdf 813 kb)
Image - Molecular motor (pdf 820 kb)
Image - Molecular shuttle (pdf 8902 kb)
Image - Molecular knots (pdf 820 kb)
Image - Nanocar (pdf 874 kb)
All illustrations: Copyright © Johan Jarnestad/The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Jean-Pierre Sauvage, born 1944 in Paris, France. Ph.D. 1971 from the University of Strasbourg, France. Professor Emeritus at the University of Strasbourg and Director of Research Emeritus at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), France.
Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, born 1942 in Edinburgh, UK. Ph.D. 1966 from Edinburgh University, UK. Board of Trustees Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA.
Bernard L. Feringa, born 1951 in Barger-Compascuum, the Netherlands. Ph.D.1978 from the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. Professor in Organic Chemistry at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands.
Prize amount: 8 million Swedish krona, to be shared equally between the Laureates.
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