A generic and inexpensive way to seperate chiral molecules: magnets
James Strachan |
If a molecule and its mirror image cannot be superimposed, it is considered chiral. The two versions (called enantiomers) can exert different biological effects – a fact that was made painfully clear by the thalidomide scandal. Today, the separation and analysis of chiral molecules is an expensive process, but an international team of researchers has developed a generic and cheaper method of separating chiral molecules – using magnets (1).
“We found that the interaction of chiral molecules with magnetic substrate is enantio-specific,” says Ron Naaman, Professor in the department of Applied Physics, Hebrew University, Israel, and study co-author. “One enantiomer interacts more strongly when the magnet is magnetized in one direction, while the other enantiomer interacts more strongly with the substrate when it is magnetized in the opposite direction.”
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