Synthetic Metals is pleased to congratulate Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Fraser Stoddart and Bernard Feringa on the award of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.  

The award is for the development of molecular machines, a field in which molecules are designed to give mechanical functions such as shuttling or rotation.  This field is related to the field of molecular electronics in which molecules are designed to give electronic functions such as rectification and light emission. For example, rotaxanes have been studied both as molecular machines and electronic and optoelectronic materials. 

One example is the paper published by Jean-Pierre Sauvage in Synthetic Metals 102 (1999) 1478.  It shows how templating by a Cu(I) ion can be used to make a rotaxane which is a structure in which a molecular ring is threaded around a molecular rod.  

The paper also shows how the resulting structure can be used for metal ion sensing.  The electrochemical synthesis and characterization of conjugated molecules is described by Jean-Pierre Sauvage in Synthetic Metals 63 (1994) 247 and by Fraser Stoddart in Synthetic Metals 197 (2014), 52.

The latter paper reports a new conjugated polymer with electrically controllable colour: its colour changes from green in the neutral state to dark blue in the oxidized form.  This raises the interesting possibility of combining mechanical and electronic functions.  

Molecular scale design is an important feature of many of the organic and optoelectronic materials published in Synthetic Metals, and as electronic  and optical stimuli can be used to drive molecular machines, we look forward to further exciting developments in the interplay between these two fields.