PITA Fiscal Year 2011 Projects

Enantioselective Separation and Purification using Chiral Au Nanoparticles

Lead University: Carnegie Mellon University
PI: Nisha Shukla, ICES
Co-PI: A.J. Gellman, Department of Chemical Engineering
PA Industry: ZetaMetrix and Supelco/Sigma-Aldrich
Molecular homochirality is an important characteristic of life on Earth. Although most important biomolecules (DNA, proteins, sugars) have both left- and right-handed structural forms, in living organisms they occur in only one of these two forms. As a result, the physiological impact of chiral bioactive compounds such as fragrances, pharmaceuticals and pesticides depends on their handedness, which must be controlled during production. There have been tremendous advances in understanding chirality on molecular level; however, implementation and understanding of chirality at the nanoscale is currently emerging in the area of catalysis, sensing, chirooptical devices and enantiomer separations. Recently, the PIs have reported the first observations of enantioselective adsorption of a chiral compound on chiral metal nanoparticles (J. Amer. Chem. Soc. 132(25), 2010, 8575). Enantioselective adsorption is the physical basis for enantioselective separations which are critical to production of most enantiomerically pure compounds such as pharmaceuticals. The proposed PITA project will provide a systematic study of various chiral ligands for preparation of chiral Au nanoparticles which are capable of enantiospecific adsorption. In addition, the proposed work will combine centrifugal separations with the use of chiral Au nanoparticles to develop a centrifugation based method for enantiospecific purification of chiral compounds. Zeta potential measurements will be used to demonstrate the potential of chiral nanoparticles in chiral sensing applications.