From Brownian to Deterministic Motor Movement in a DNA-Based Molecular Rotor

Florian Rothfischer, Matthias Vogt, Enzo Kopperger, Ulrich Gerland, Friedrich C. Simmel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Molecular devices that have an anisotropic periodic potential landscape can be operated as Brownian motors. When the potential landscape is cyclically switched with an external force, such devices can harness random Brownian fluctuations to generate a directed motion. Recently, directed Brownian motor-like rotatory movement was demonstrated with an electrically switched DNA origami rotor with designed ratchet-like obstacles. Here, we demonstrate that the intrinsic anisotropy of DNA origami rotors is also sufficient to result in motor movement. We show that for low amplitudes of an external switching field, such devices operate as Brownian motors, while at higher amplitudes, they behave deterministically as overdamped electrical motors. We characterize the amplitude and frequency dependence of the movements, showing that after an initial steep rise, the angular speed peaks and drops for excessive driving amplitudes and frequencies. The rotor movement can be well described by a simple stochastic model of the system.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNano Letters
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Brownian motors
  • DNA origami
  • electrical actuation
  • molecular machines
  • single molecule techniques


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