PITA Fiscal Year 2008 Projects - Nanotechnology

Synthesis of Chiral Nanoparticles for Enantiomer Separations

Principal Investigators: Dr. Nisha Shukla, Prof. A.J. Gellman,

Chiral molecules have the geometric property of handedness in that they are non-superimposable on their mirror images. Most pharmaceuticals are chiral compounds but must be prepared and administered as single enantiomers (molecules of one handedness). The purification of enantiomerically pure chiral compounds from racemic mixtures is one of the most difficult and expensive steps in the synthesis of enantiomerically pure pharmaceuticals. Similarly, there is a need for the rapid detection of enantiomeric excess in reaction mixtures leading to chiral products. The proposed PITA project will develop chemical synthesis methods for the preparation of chiral nanoparticles capable of enantiospecific adsorption of chiral molecules. Enantiospecific adsorption on chiral nanoparticles can be used as a method for enantiomeric separations of racemic (equimolar) mixtures of chiral molecules and leads to enantiomeric purification. Similarly, the use chiral nanoparticles as enantioselective adsorbents can be used as the basis for methods for detection of enantiomeric excess in chiral mixtures.