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Keywords:

  • molecular machines;
  • nanotechnology;
  • responsive materials;
  • rotaxanes;
  • supramolecular polymers
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Pumping iron: Double-threaded rotaxanes can be linked to coordination units and polymerized in the presence of iron or zinc ions. pH modulation triggers cooperative contractions (or extensions) of the individual rotaxanes, thus resulting in an amplified motion of the muscle-like supramolecular chains with changes of their contour lengths of several micrometers (see picture).