PITA FY2014 Projects

Development of new chiral nanoparticles and a mathematical model for enantioselective separations on their surfaces

PI:Nisha Shukla, ICES

University:Carnegie Mellon University

Co-PI(s):A.J. Gellman, Chemical Engineering

Industry Affiliate(s):Supelco/Sigma-Aldrich

Summary:Homochirality is one of the most important characteristics of life on Earth; most naturally occurring biomolecules are enantiomerically pure. As a result, the physiological impact of chiral bioactive compounds such as fragrances, pharmaceuticals and pesticides depends on their handedness. Production of these enantiomerically pure compounds, one of the most challenging forms of chemical manufacturing, is a >$200B /yr industry. Because molecular chirality is inherently nanoscaled, enantioselective chemical manufacturing requires materials that are chiral at the nanoscale for use as catalysts, sensing, chirooptical devices and enantiomeric separations.

Our FY-13 PITA project developed chiral ligands for preparation of chiral Au nanoparticles capable of enantiospecific adsorption and separation. In addition, systematic study revealed the effect of temperature on enantiospecific adsorption and wavelength on its optical detection. That work also improved experimental design for faster and more accurate measurement of enantioselective separations on chiral Au nanoparticles. To complement our improved experimental methodology we are now developing an improved model for quantitative analysis and determination of enantiospecific adsorption constants. In addition, we have had preliminary success in synthesizing tetrahexahedral Au nanoparticles which we plan to prepare in enantiomerically pure form without chiral ligands. These next generation chiral nanoparticles will be tested for enantioselective adsorption using real chiral pharmaceuticals including propranolol and verapamil hydrochloride. This project is conducted with affiliation to a Pennsylvania corporation; Dr. David Bell of Sigma-Aldrich is interested in the development of new chiral nanomaterials for use as chiral separations media.

In FY-13 this project served as the basis for undergraduate research education (06-200) and a CIT honors course (39-500). This year there are 4 ChemE juniors and 1 ChemE senior who will be educated in undergraduate research (06-200, 39-500). In addition, this work serves as the basis for an outreach program for the Summer Engineering Experience for Girls.