Dynamics of a light driven molecular motor

P. Palffy-Muhoray, T. Kosa, E. Weinan

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Molecular motors play key roles in areas ranging from biological transport to emerging nanotcchnology. They produce current as a result of transfer of energy but not of momentum from a source; many molecular motor scenarios are based en the translational Brownian ratchet mechanism. Here we consider the mechanism of photoalignment of liquid crystals by a photosensitive alignment layer. We show that the photoalignment is due to an orientational ratchet mechanism, where the azo-dye molecules, functionatized into a polymer alignment layer, when irradiated by polarized light act as the rotors of Brownian motors which reorient the bulk liquid crystal against an elastic restoring torque. Results of this photoalignment experiment can be obtained directly from a remote experiment set up at the Liquid Crystal Institute, via the WWW. In addition to experimental results, we present a detailed Fokker-Planck description of this system. We discuss the implementation and the results of numerical simulations, and compare these with the experimentally observed dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)577-591
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals Science and Technology Section A: Molecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals
StatePublished - 2002
EventProceedings of the IX International Topical Meeting on Optics of Liquid Crystals, OLC 2001 - Sorrento, Italy
Duration: Oct 1 2001Oct 6 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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