Journal: Johnson-Buck A, Shih WM , (). Single-Molecule Clocks Controlled by Serial Chemical Reactions Nano Lett. . 17(12), 7940–7944Abstract:
Chemical clocks usually achieve well-defined temporal delays through concentration thresholding coupled to the production, degradation, activation, or inhibition of downstream effectors. In this way, the stochastic dynamics of many individual molecules yield essentially deterministic bulk behavior through ensemble averaging. As a result, their temporal evolution is governed by ensemble dynamics rather than by the behavior of an individual molecule or complex. Here, we present a general approach for the design of single-molecule clocks that permits quasi-deterministic control over the lifetime of single molecular interactions without any external synchronization. By coupling the dissociation of a bimolecular complex to a series of irreversible chemical steps, we interpose a well-defined time delay between binding and dissociation. The number and speed of irreversible steps can be varied to systematically tune both the lifetimes of complexes and the precision of the time delay, raising the prospect of localized timekeeping in nanoscale systems and devices.