Artificial molecular machines represent a growing field of nanoscience and nanotechnology. Stimulated by chemical reagents, electricity, or light, artificial molecular machines exhibit precisely controlled motion at the molecular level; with this ability molecular machines have the potential to make significant impacts in numerous engineering applications. Compared with molecular machines powered by chemical or electrical energy, light-driven molecular machines have several advantages: light can be switched much faster, work without producing chemical waste, and be used for dual purposes-inducing (writing) as well as detecting (reading) molecular motions. The following issues are significant for light-driven artificial molecular machines in the following aspects: their chemical structures, motion mechanisms, assembly and characterization on solid-state surfaces. Applications in different fields of nanotechnology such as molecular electronics, nano-electro-mechanical systems (NEMS), nanophotonics, and nanomedicine are envisaged.