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Nature Communications


Molecular-logic based computation (MLBC) has grown by accumulating many examples of combinational logic gates and a few sequential variants. In spite of many inspirations being available in biology, there are virtually no examples of MLBC in chemistry where sequential and combinational operations are integrated. Here we report a simple alcohol-ketone redox interconversion which switches a macrocycle between a large or small cavity, with erect aromatic walls which create a deep hydrophobic space or with collapsed walls respectively. Small aromatic guests can be captured or released in an all or none manner upon chemical command. During capture, the fluorescence of the alcohol macrocycle is quenched via fluorescent photoinduced electron transfer switching, meaning that its occupancy state is self-indicated. This represents a chemically-driven RS Flip-Flop, one of whose outputs is fed into an INHIBIT gate. Processing of outputs from memory stores is seen in the injection of packaged neurotransmitters into synaptic clefts for onward neural signalling. Overall, capture-release phenomena from discrete supermolecules now have a Boolean basis.


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