Synthetic chemistry: Light on chirality

Inoue, Yoshihisa
August 2005
Nature;8/25/2005, Vol. 436 Issue 7054, p1099
Academic Journal
This article focuses on light-driven chiral catalysts. Chirality, the non-identity of a molecule with its mirror image, is ubiquitous. It occurs not only in biomolecules, but also in man-made chemicals, materials and drugs. Catalytic asymmetric synthesis, the use of chiral catalysts to transfer and amplify chirality in chemical reactions, has therefore become a central topic in molecular science. In conventional thermal asymmetric synthesis, vibrational energy is supplied to a reaction in the presence of a chiral catalyst or enzyme. The aim of photochemical asymmetric synthesis is the same, but its tools are different: it uses short-lived, weakly interacting molecular states that have been excited not by heat but by absorbed light.


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