Periodic thermodynamics of laser-driven molecular motor

Zhi Song Wang, Dan Li, Wen Wei Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Operation of a laser-driven nano-motor inevitably generates a non-trivial amount of heat, which can possibly lead to instability or even hinder the motor's continual running. This work quantitatively examines the overheating problem for a recently proposed laser-operated molecular locomotive. We present a single-molecule cooling theory, in which molecular details of the locomotive system are explicitly treated. This theory is able to quantitatively predict cooling efficiency for various candidates of molecular systems for the locomotive, and also suggests concrete strategies for improving the locomotive's cooling. It is found that water environment is able to cool the hot locomotive down to room temperature within 100 picoseconds after photon absorption. This cooling time is a few orders of magnitude shorter than the typical time for laser operation, effectively preventing any overheating for the nano-locomotive. However, when the cooling is less effective in non-aqueous environment, residual heat may build up. A continuous running of the motor will then lead to a periodic thermodynamics, which is a common character of many laser-operated nano-devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1916-1924
Number of pages9
JournalChinese Physics B
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Molecular motor
  • Photoisomerization
  • Vibrational relaxation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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