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Concept: Chirality


In this work, a simple method for alcohol synthesis with high enantiomeric purity was proposed. For this, colloidal gold and silver surface modifications with 3-mercaptopropanoic acid and cysteamine were used to generate carboxyl and amine functionalized gold and silver nanoparticles of 15 and 45 nm, respectively. Alcohol dehydrogenase from Thermoanaerobium brockii (TbADH) and its cofactor (NADPH) were physical and covalent (through direct adsorption and using cross-linker) immobilized on nanoparticles' surface. In contrast to the physical and covalent immobilizations that led to a loss of 90% of the initial enzyme activity and 98% immobilization, the use of a cross-linker in immobilization process promoted a loss to 30% of the initial enzyme activity and >92% immobilization. The yield of NADPH immobilization was about 80%. The best results in terms of activity were obtained with Ag-citr nanoparticle functionalized with carboxyl groups (Ag-COOH), Au-COOH(CTAB), and Au-citr functionalized with amine groups and stabilized with CTAB (Au-NH2(CTAB)) nanoparticles treated with 0.7% and 1.0% glutaraldehyde. Enzyme conformation upon immobilization was studied using fluorescence and circular dichroism spectroscopies. Shift in ellipticity at 222 nm with about 4 to 7 nm and significant decreasing in fluorescence emission for all bioconjugates were observed by binding of TbADH to silver/gold nanoparticles. Emission redshifting of 5 nm only for Ag-COOH-TbADH bioconjugate demonstrated change in the microenvironment of TbADH. Enzyme immobilization on glutaraldehyde-treated Au-NH2(CTAB) nanoparticles promotes an additional stabilization preserving about 50% of enzyme activity after 15 days storage. Nanoparticles attached-TbADH-NADPH systems were used for enantioselective (ee > 99%) synthesis of (S)-7-hydroxy-2-tetralol.

Concepts: Alcohol, Amine, Enzyme, Nanotechnology, Chirality, Gold, Alcohol dehydrogenase, Immobilized enzyme


Synthetic control over chirality and function is the crowning achievement for metal-organic frameworks, but the same level of control has not been achieved for covalent organic frameworks (COFs). Here we demonstrate chiral COFs (CCOFs) can be crystallized from achiral organic precursors by chiral catalytic induction. A total of nine two-dimensional CCOFs are solvothermally prepared by imine condensations of the C3-symmetric 1,3,5-triformylphloroglucinol (Tp) with diamine or triamine linkers in the presence of catalytic amount of ®- or (S)-1-phenylethylamine. Homochirality of these CCOFs results from chiral catalyst-induced immobilization of threefold-symmetric tris(N-salicylideneamine) cores with a propeller-like conformation of one single handedness during crystallization. The CCOF-TpTab showed high enantioselectivity toward chiral carbohydrates in fluorescence quenching and, after postsynthetic modification of enaminone groups located in chiral channels with Cu(II) ions, it can also be utilized as a heterogeneous catalyst for the asymmetric Henry reaction of nitroalkane with aldehydes.

Concepts: Amino acid, Catalysis, Stereochemistry, Hydrogenation, Enantiomer, Chirality


Knots may ultimately prove just as versatile and useful at the nanoscale as at the macroscale. However, the lack of synthetic routes to all but the simplest molecular knots currently prevents systematic investigation of the influence of knotting at the molecular level. We found that it is possible to assemble four building blocks into three braided ligand strands. Octahedral iron(II) ions control the relative positions of the three strands at each crossing point in a circular triple helicate, while structural constraints on the ligands determine the braiding connections. This approach enables two-step assembly of a molecular 819 knot featuring eight nonalternating crossings in a 192-atom closed loop ~20 nanometers in length. The resolved metal-free 819 knot enantiomers have pronounced features in their circular dichroism spectra resulting solely from topological chirality.

Concepts: Knot, Chirality, Topology, Circular dichroism, Loop, Rope, Ropework, Knots


Over the past two decades, single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) have received much attention because their extraordinary properties are promising for numerous applications. Many of these properties depend sensitively on SWCNT structure, which is characterized by the chiral index (n,m) that denotes the length and orientation of the circumferential vector in the hexagonal carbon lattice. Electronic properties are particularly strongly affected, with subtle structural changes switching tubes from metallic to semiconducting with various bandgaps. Monodisperse ‘single-chirality’ (that is, with a single (n,m) index) SWCNTs are thus needed to fully exploit their technological potential. Controlled synthesis through catalyst engineering, end-cap engineering or cloning strategies, and also tube sorting based on chromatography, density-gradient centrifugation, electrophoresis and other techniques, have delivered SWCNT samples with narrow distributions of tube diameter and a large fraction of a predetermined tube type. But an effective pathway to truly monodisperse SWCNTs remains elusive. The use of template molecules to unambiguously dictate the diameter and chirality of the resulting nanotube holds great promise in this regard, but has hitherto had only limited practical success. Here we show that this bottom-up strategy can produce targeted nanotubes: we convert molecular precursors into ultrashort singly capped (6,6) ‘armchair’ nanotube seeds using surface-catalysed cyclodehydrogenation on a platinum (111) surface, and then elongate these during a subsequent growth phase to produce single-chirality and essentially defect-free SWCNTs with lengths up to a few hundred nanometres. We expect that our on-surface synthesis approach will provide a route to nanotube-based materials with highly optimized properties for applications such as light detectors, photovoltaics, field-effect transistors and sensors.

Concepts: Carbon, Chirality, Transistor, Carbon nanotube, Graphite, Length, Sensor, Carbon nanotubes in photovoltaics


Controlling the emission and the flow of light in micro- and nanostructures is crucial for on-chip information processing. Here we show how to impose a strong chirality and a switchable direction of light propagation in an optical system by steering it to an exceptional point (EP)-a degeneracy universally occurring in all open physical systems when two eigenvalues and the corresponding eigenstates coalesce. In our experiments with a fiber-coupled whispering-gallery-mode (WGM) resonator, we dynamically control the chirality of resonator modes and the emission direction of a WGM microlaser in the vicinity of an EP: Away from the EPs, the resonator modes are nonchiral and laser emission is bidirectional. As the system approaches an EP, the modes become chiral and allow unidirectional emission such that by transiting from one EP to another one the direction of emission can be completely reversed. Our results exemplify a very counterintuitive feature of non-Hermitian physics that paves the way to chiral photonics on a chip.

Concepts: Optics, Physics, Light, Laser, Metamaterial, Chirality, Book of Optics, Photonics


Semiconductors with chiral geometries at the nanoscale and mesoscale provide a rich materials platform for polarization optics, photocatalysis, and biomimetics. Unlike metallic and organic optical materials, the relationship between the geometry of chiral semiconductors and their chiroptical properties remains, however, vague. Homochiral ensembles of semiconductor helices with defined geometries open the road to understanding complex relationships between geometrical parameters and chiroptical properties of semiconductor materials. We show that semiconductor helices can be prepared with an absolute yield of ca 0.1% and an enantiomeric excess (e.e.) of 98% or above from cysteine-stabilized cadmium telluride nanoparticles (CdTe NPs) dispersed in methanol. This high e.e. for a spontaneously occurring chemical process is attributed to chiral self-sorting based on the thermodynamic preference of NPs to assemble with those of the same handedness. The dispersions of homochiral self-assembled helices display broadband visible and near-infrared (Vis-NIR) polarization rotation with anisotropy (g) factors approaching 0.01. Calculated circular dichroism (CD) spectra accurately reproduced experimental CD spectra and gave experimentally validated spectral predictions for different geometrical parameters enabling de novo design of chiroptical semiconductor materials. Unlike metallic, ceramic, and polymeric helices that serve predominantly as scatterers, chiroptical properties of semiconductor helices have nearly equal contribution of light absorption and scattering, which is essential for device-oriented, field-driven light modulation. Deconstruction of a helix into a series of nanorods provides a simple model for the light-matter interaction and chiroptical activity of helices. This study creates a framework for further development of polarization-based optics toward biomedical applications, telecommunications, and hyperspectral imaging.

Concepts: Optics, Chirality, Cadmium, Solar cell, Electrical conductivity, Tellurium, Circular dichroism, Dichroism


A highly sensitive, specific and enantioselective assay has been developed and validated for the estimation of TAK-700 enantiomers [(+)-TAK-700 and (-)-TAK-700] in rat plasma on LC-MS/MS-ESI in the positive-ion mode. Liquid-liquid extraction was used to extract (±)-TAK-700 enantiomers and IS (phenacetin) from rat plasma. TAK-700 enantiomers were separated using methanol and 5 mm ammonium acetate (80:20, v/v) at a flow rate of 0.7 mL/min on a Chiralcel OJ-RH column. The total run time was 7.0 min and the elution of (+)-TAK-700, (-)-TAK-700 and IS occurred at 3.71, 4.45 and 4.33 min, respectively. The MS/MS ion transitions monitored were m/z 308.2 → 95.0 for TAK-700 and m/z 180.2 → 110.1 for IS. The standard curves for TAK-700 enantiomers were linear (r(2)  > 0.998) in the concentration range 2.01-2015 ng/mL for each enantiomer. The inter- and intra-day precisions were in the ranges 3.74-7.61 and 2.06-8.71% and 3.59-9.00 and 2.32-11.0% for (+)-TAK-700 and (-)-TAK-700, respectively. Both the enantiomers were found to be stable in a battery of stability studies. This novel method was applied to the study of stereoselective oral pharmacokinetics of (+)-TAK-700 and it was unequivocally demonstrated that (+)-TAK-700 does not undergo chiral inversion to its antipode in vivo. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Concepts: Stereochemistry, Enantiomer, Chirality, Tartaric acid, Enantiomeric excess


Original mixed selectors were synthesized by coupling a single l-valine diamide moiety on permethylated β-cyclodextrin. The structures of the new selectors were designed to limit the interactions between the l-valine derivative and cyclodextrin by removing the amino acid moiety from the cyclodextrin cavity by means of an amide linkage on mono-6-amino permethylated β-CD or the insertion of a carboxymethyl group. The accessibility of the amino acid group moiety was thus facilitated. The new mixed selectors exhibited better enantioselectivity than Chirasil-l-Val for half (selector based on mono-6-amino permethylated β-CD) or more (selector with the carboxymethyl group) of the 41 amino acid derivatives. Molecular modeling confirmed that these results could be attributed to an increase in the distance between the chiral center of the amino acid and the cyclodextrin cavity allowing better access of the amino acid moiety. These new mixed chiral selectors demonstrated a novel enantioselective capability with the successful separation of more than 90 racemic mixtures among the 105 chiral compounds tested. These mixed selectors exhibited enhanced enantioselectivity in comparison to binary selectors previously described with respect to both enantiomer resolution and the number of separated chiral compounds. Moreover, an improvement of the enantioseparation factors compared to the corresponding ‘parent phases’ for the amino acid derivatives was observed in many cases. These mixed selectors should therefore be considered some of the most versatile selectors for chiral gas chromatography.

Concepts: Amino acid, Amine, Ammonia, Stereochemistry, Enantiomer, Chirality, Carboxylic acid, Racemic mixture


Formation of amyloid fibrils is often associated with intriguing far-from-equilibrium phenomena such as conformational memory effects or flow-driven self-assembly. Insulin is a model amyloidogenic polypeptide forming distinct structural variants of fibrils which self-propagate through seeding. According to infrared absorption, fibrils from bovine insulin ([BI]) and LysB31-ArgB32 human insulin analog ([KR]) cross-seed each other and imprint distinct structural features in daughter fibrils. In the absence of preformed [KR] amyloid seeds, bovine insulin agitated at 60o C converts into chiral amyloid superstructures exhibiting negative extrinsic Cotton effect in bound thioflavin T. However, when agitated bovine insulin is simultaneously cross-seeded with [KR] amyloid, daughter fibrils reveal a positive extrinsic Cotton effect. Our study indicates that dramatic changes in global properties of amyloid superstructures may emerge from subtle conformational-level variations in single fibrils (e.g. alignment and twist of β-strands) that are encoded by memory effects.

Concepts: Amino acid, Insulin, Effect, Amyloid, Chirality, Seed, Eli Lilly and Company, Insulin analog


Equal and opposite: A chiral surfactant molecule was used to induce high enantioselectivity in the transformation from the achiral phase of mercury sulfide, probably through binding of the surfactant thiolate groups to Hg ions in the forming crystal. The generation of truly chiral inorganic NCs of tailored size and shape should be useful for many applications, such as enantioselective catalysis and sensing.

Concepts: Electron, Chemistry, Atom, Chemical bond, Enantiomer, Chirality, Tartaric acid, Cinnabar