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Many organic molecules are chiral, which means that they are non-superimposable on their mirror image. Those mirror images are called enantiomers and can have different properties when interacting with other chiral entities, for example, biomolecules. Selectively producing the right enantiomer is therefore important in, for example, pharmaceuticals. University of Groningen chemists Ruth Dorel and Ben Feringa have now devised a method that not only achieves this but that also controls which version is being produced using light. The results were published online by the journal Angewandte Chemie on November 17.
The process is based on the use of a molecular motor created by Professor Feringa, for which he was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The motor molecule was used to produce the first switchable catalyst for asymmetric anion-binding catalysis. Dr. Ruth Dorel explains: "We attached anion-binding arms on both sides of the motor molecule to create an anion receptor that can act as a catalyst. This receptor will adopt a helical structure in the presence of anions that, depending on the relative position of the arms, will exist in different forms."
Study - Motor - Molecule - Stages - Rotation
In this study, a very slow-turning motor molecule was used so that different stages of the rotation cycle could be used...
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