Welcome to the Leigh group website

Making Molecules that Make Molecules A Synthetic Molecular Pentafoil Knot A Synthetic Small Molecule that Walks down a Track Hybrid Organic-Inorganic Rotaxanes A Molecular Information Ratchet Macroscopic Transport by Synthetic Molecular Machines A Reversible Synthetic Rotary Molecular Motor A Mechanically-Interlocked Rotary Molecular Motor
Young Giants of Chemistry Descartes Prize
Interested in joining the Leigh group as a PhD or postdoc? See here.

Professor David A Leigh FRS FRSE

Professor David A. Leigh

Our research

Our research group’s interests are broadly based on new approaches to functional molecule synthesis and the influence of non-covalent interactions on structure and function from biology to materials science. Over the last decade we have developed some of the first examples—all be they primitive by biological standards—of functional synthetic molecular level machines and motors [for some examples see HERE].

Perhaps the best way to appreciate the technological potential of controlled molecular-level motion is to recognise that nanomotors and molecular-level machines lie at the heart of every significant biological process. Over billions of years of evolution Nature has not repeatedly chosen this solution for achieving complex task performance without good reason. When we learn how to build artificial structures that can control and exploit molecular level motion, and interface their effects directly with other molecular-level substructures and the outside world, it will potentially impact on every aspect of functional molecule and materials design. An improved understanding of physics and biology will surely follow.

Group's Research Interests


"If you want to conquer the ocean and reach out for new continents don't tell your men to get wood and nails to build a ship, just instil in them the yearning for the expanse of the seas and distant lands"

Antoine de Saint-Exupery