Clemens, Jonathon B.; Kibar, Osman; Chachisvilis, Mirianas
A molecular propeller effect for chiral separation and analysis

Enantiomers share nearly identical physical properties but have different chiral geometries, making their identification and separation difficult. Here we show that when exposed to a rotating electric field, the left- and right-handed chiral molecules rotate with the field and act as microscopic propellers; moreover, owing to their opposite handedness, they propel along the axis of field rotation in opposite directions. We introduce a new molecular parameter called hydrodynamic chirality to characterize the coupling of rotational motion of a chiral molecule into its translational motion and quantify the direction and velocity of such motion. We demonstrate >80% enrichment level of counterpart enantiomers in solution without using chiral selectors or circularly polarized light. We expect our results to have an impact on multiple applications in drug discovery, analytical and chiral chemistry, including determination of absolute configuration, as well as in influencing the understanding of artificial and natural molecular systems where rotational motion of the molecules is involved.


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