Duplicate or mirror? Laser light determines chirality of molecules

“In pharmaceutics, being able to transition a molecule from one chirality to the other using light instead of wet chemistry would be a dream,” says Professor Reinhard Dörner from the Institute of Atomic Physics at Goethe University. His doctoral student Kilian Fehre has now brought this dream one step closer to coming true. His observation: the formation of the right- or left-handed version depends on the direction from which laser light hits the initiator. For his experiment, Kilian Fehre used the planar formic acid molecule. He activated it with an intense, circularly polarized laser pulse to transition it to a chiral form. At the same time, the radiation caused the molecule to break into its atomic components. It was necessary to destroy the molecule for the experiment so that it could be determined whether a duplicate or mirror version was created. Fehre used the “reaction microscope” (COLTRIMS method) that was developed at the Institute for Atomic Physics for the analysis.

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Wed 13 Mar 19 from Chemistry World

Duplicate or mirror?

Seven of the ten most frequent medications contain chiral agents. These are molecules that occur in right- or left-handed forms. During chemical synthesis both forms usually occur in equal parts ...

Thu 14 Mar 19 from ScienceDaily

Duplicate or mirror?, Thu 14 Mar 19 from Eurekalert

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