Now researchers have succeeded in directly manipulating chiral molecules
with light - a goal that had been long sought but never previously attained.
exhibit different chemical and physical properties in the chiral environment.
In less than a decade, the X-ray pulse duration has been shortened from over 100 femtoseconds to 5 fs (and likely 0.5 fs later this year); full polarization control has been introduced, so we can see chiral molecules
that are important for many pharmaceutical drugs; and a wide array of dual-pulse options have been developed that provide the ability to drive a system and monitor its response on timescales that range from femtoseconds to microseconds.
have shown up in meteorites with a slight preference for one configuration.
These chiral molecules
are essential to biology and life as we understand them, and have been found in meteorites on Earth, as well as in comets in the solar system.
The topics include crystal structure and prediction, coherence in energy transfer and photosynthesis, ultrafast dynamics of electrons in ammonia, the statistical mechanics of dynamic pathways to self-assembly, spintronics and chirality: spin selectivity in electron transport through chiral molecules
, the advanced physical chemistry of carbon nanotubes, site-specific infrared probes of proteins, the time-domain ab initio modeling of photo-induced dynamics at nanoscale interfaces, the experimental implementation of two-dimensional Fourier transform electronic spectroscopy, and vibrational energy transport in molecules studied by relaxation-assisted two-dimensional infrared spectroscopy.
Biopolymers responsible for vital activity, such as DNA, proteins and polysaccharides, consist of small chiral molecules
, sugars and amino acids, and take the left- or right-handed helical structure originating from homochirality of the small molecules.
Bioreductions are the main topic because of their widespread application in organic synthesis and their versatility in creating stereogenic centers in chiral molecules
"We could use this same approach to monitor conformational changes in biomolecules under varying environmental conditions, such as temperature-and also to fabricate nano-objects that exhibit a chiral response to light, which could then be used as new kinds of nanoscale sensors." The scientists knew that left- and right-handed chiral molecules
would interact differently with "circularly polarized" light-where the direction of the electrical field rotates around the axis of the beam.
To keep pace with this growth, researchers in drug discovery are seeking faster methods to enable higher throughput enantioselective analyses, enantiomeric excess determination and impurity profiling of chiral molecules
Barry Sharpless for their discoveries of how certain chiral molecules
are used to speed up and control important chemical and biological reactions.