Molecular Engineering and control

Beilstein Bozen Symposium 2012

14 – 18 May 2012

Yachthotel Chiemsee, Prien (Chiemsee), Germany

Scientific Program: Carsten Kettner and Martin G. Hicks


Proceedings of this Beilstein Bozen Symposium.


The Beilstein workshops address contemporary issues in the chemical and related sciences by employing an interdisciplinary approach. Scientists from a wide range of areas - often outside chemistry - are invited to present aspects of their work for discussion with the aim of not only to advance science, but also, to enhance interdisciplinary communication.

With the increasing understanding of molecular systems it is now possible to build materials and new systems with nano-scale precision through the control of the structure of matter at the atomic and molecular level. Since the forces that dominate the macroscopic world have either less relevance or different consequences at the nano-level, we must employ different paradigms when conceiving molecular-scale machines that will build, in turn, new types of materials and machines, etc. In this respect biological systems are the best proof of concept that this kind of technology already exists. Multicomponent systems such as ribosomes can be considered as molecular-scale machines that read RNA, decode the information, generate proteins and finally assist in the folding process to ensure the generation of a correct three-dimensional configuration. This newly created entity can carry out structural functions, catalytic activities in chemical processes, and even form a constituent part of further ribosomes for the construction of new molecular machines. Inspired by biological systems, researchers are beginning to mimic nature in the design of molecules and supramolecular systems but also in the modification of nature’s own factories.

The interdisciplinary approach of scientists, who combine knowledge from the natural sciences, engineering and informatics in the design and synthesis of molecules, makes possible the exploration of the limits of miniaturization, operation and efficiency for both natural and artificial machines. The aim is to be able to routinely design molecules or systems with desired physicochemical or physiological properties.

For example, the manipulation and control of molecules on surfaces to bring about the functionalization of the surface or of the molecules themselves is important for a wide variety of applications, e.g., the engineering of synthetic biological systems, diagnostics and delivery devices. The realization of these abilities rests not only upon the availability of synthetic expertise but also on the many essential methods of imaging, lithography and computation, which allow us to begin both the assembly and control of molecules, together. However, the difficulties associated with being able to simultaneously understand and control assembly, recognition, transport and motion at the molecular and systems levels need to be addressed.

Therefore, this symposium brings together scientists from different disciplines to discuss, from their own points of view, the contemporary state and future perspectives in molecular engineering and control.

Scientific Program

Opening Remarks and Greetings
Martin G. Hicks, Beilstein-Institut, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

From Molecular Devices to Molecular Systems Engineering: Putting the Pieces Together
Eric Drexler, University of Oxford, UK

Is Back-scattering Interferometry a Universal Molecular Interaction Platform?
Darryl J. Bornhop, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USA

New Horizons in Single Molecule TEM Imaging
Eiichi Nakamura, The University of Tokyo, Japan

Molecular Control of Stem Cell Fate
David A. Winkler, CSIRO Materials Science and Engineering, Clayton, Australia

Towards the Genetic Code with a Maximum Degree of Chemical Liberty
Nediljko Budisa, Technical University Berlin, Germany

Manipulations of Polyketide and Terpenoid Biosynthesis Pathways
Frank Schulz, Technical University Dortmund, Germany

Messages from Nature – How Chemical Synthetic Biology Could Look Like?
Andreas Kirschning, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany

Engineering Assembly-line Catalysis in Natural Product Biosynthesis
Peter Leadlay, University of Cambridge, UK

Nanoparticle Superlattice Engineering with DNA
Robert Macfarlane, Northwestern University, Evanston, USA

Controlling Functional Molecules and Precise Assemblies: Cooperativity and Interference
Paul S. Weiss, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

Physics of the Actin Cortex
Guillaume Salbreux, Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Dresden, Germany

Steps Towards Self-Organization: From Supramolecular Chemistry to Adaptive Chemistry
Jean-Marie Lehn, Université de Strasbourg, France

Microscopic Reversibility: The Organizing Principle for Design, Characterization, and Operation of Molecular Machines
R. Dean Astumian, The University of Maine, Orono, USA

Propelled Motion of Single Molecules on Surfaces
Tibor Kudernac, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands

Organic Charge Transfer Systems: The Next Step in Organic Electronics?
Michael Huth, University of Frankfurt, Germany

Simulating Devices such as Self-assembled Monolayer Field-effect Transistors (SAMFETs)
Timothy Clark, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany

Non Equilibrium Structure Polynuclear-metal-oxide Assemblies
Lee Cronin, University of Glasgow, UK

1 nm Thick Functional Carbon Nanomembranes (CNMs): New Opportunities for Nanotechnology
Armin Gölzhäuser, University of Bielefeld, Germany

Template-guided Self-assembly: Controlling Nanoscale Pattern Formation by Molecular Interaction
Thomas Schimmel, University of Karlsruhe/Karlsruhe Institute for Technology, Germany

Cooperative Behaviour of Molecules and Supramolecules at Surfaces: Chemo, Mechano, Electronic and Spin Switching – Towards Future Nanoscale Devices
Thomas A. Jung, University of Groningen, The Netherlands

Bozen 2012