Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Flexible rack systems sort molecules

Date:
November 11, 2011
Source:
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Summary:
Researchers have developed a flexible and efficient new process for the separation of enantiomers. Enantiomer separation is indispensable for the production of many pharmaceuticals. In their process, the scientists use porous molecular frameworks that are assembled in layers on solid substrates using a specifically developed method.

A molecular framework anchored to a surface separates the enantiomers desired.
Credit: KIT-IFG

Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) have developed a flexible and efficient new process for the separation of enantiomers. Enantiomer separation is indispensable for the production of many pharmaceuticals. In their process, the scientists use porous molecular frameworks (MOFs) that are assembled in layers on solid substrates using a specifically developed method.

The results have now been published in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

Enantiomers are pairs of molecules built in a mirror-inverted manner. They differ from each other like a left and a right glove. This property of the molecules that is referred to as chirality is of particular relevance to biosciences and pharmaceutics. "While many, especially smaller, molecules like carbon dioxide or methane are not chiral, many biologically relevant molecules, such as tartaric acid have this property," explains Professor Christof Wöll, Head of the KIT Institute of Functional Interfaces (IFG). For many pharmaceutical agents, only one of both enantiomers is desired for the effective molecules being able to dock to certain structures in the body.

In contrast to conventional methods, the process developed by the team of researchers directed by Professor Wöll, Professor Roland Fischer from the Chair for Inorganic Chemistry II of RUB, and Humboldt scholar Bo Liu (KIT and RUB) allows for a more rapid and, hence, cheaper separation of enantiomers. It is based on novel molecular frameworks (MOFs) that can be grown on solid substrates. These porous coatings that are also referred to as SURMOFs are produced by an epitaxy process specifically developed by the researchers. Instead of heating the solution mixtures produced from the initial substances, modified substrates are immersed alternately in the solutions of the initial substances. "In this way, the molecular layers are assembled one after the other comparable to a rack system," explains Roland Fischer. These molecular rack systems anchored to the surfaces can be functionalized for various applications.

The enantiomers are separated by chiral organic molecules that are the linkers or struts of the rack systems. Thanks to their enantiopure structure, these coatings retain one of both enantiomers. In their contribution that was also selected for the title photo of the journal "Angewandte Chemie," the scientists describe the separation of the enantiomer molecules (2R, 5R)-2,5-hexanediol (R-HDO) and (2S, 5S)-2,5-hexanediol (S-HDO). Future work will be aimed at increasing the mesh width of the porous structures in order to test the method for larger molecules used as pharmaceuticals. "Pharmaceutical substances are two or more nanometers in size and, hence, larger than hexanediol. The development of surface-attached networks with such large structures is a big challenge," explains Professor Wöll.

It is a particular advantage of SURMOFs that the efficiency of enantiomer separation can be measured rapidly and precisely. With the help of quartz crystal microbalances, it was demonstrated that surface-anchored molecular framework structures reach excellent separation efficiencies already. "The SURMOFs as a new material have an enormous potential for use in pharmaceutical industry," explains Professor Jürgen Hubbuch, holder of the Chair for Molecular Separation Engineering (MAB) and Spokesman of the KIT Competence Field of Biotechnology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bo Liu, Osama Shekhah, Hasan K. Arslan, Jinxuan Liu, Christof Wöll, Roland A. Fischer. Homochirale Dünnschichten auf der Basis Metall-organischer Gerüste: orientiertes Wachstum von SURMOFs und enantioselektive Adsorption. Angewandte Chemie, 2011; DOI: 10.1002/ange.201104240

Cite This Page:

Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "Flexible rack systems sort molecules." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111110125842.htm>.
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. (2011, November 11). Flexible rack systems sort molecules. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111110125842.htm
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "Flexible rack systems sort molecules." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111110125842.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Next Stop America for France's TGV?

Next Stop America for France's TGV?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 24, 2014) — General Electric keeps quiet on reports it's in talks to buy French turbine and train maker Alstom. Ivor Bennett reports on what could be an embarrassing rumour for the French government, with business-friendly reforms proving a hard sell. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot

Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) — President Obama briefly played soccer with a robot during his visit to Japan on Thursday. The President has been emphasizing technology along with security concerns during his visit. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama Encourages Japanese Student-Scientists

Obama Encourages Japanese Student-Scientists

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) — President Obama spoke with student innovators in Japan and urged them to take part in increased opportunities for student exchanges with the US. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) — The UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) led a mine clearance demonstration on Wednesday in the UN-controlled buffer zone where demining operations are being conducted near the Cypriot village of Mammari. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins