Welcome to the new version of CaltechAUTHORS. Login is currently restricted to library staff. If you notice any issues, please email coda@library.caltech.edu
Published October 30, 2001 | metadata_only
Journal Article

Spontaneous chiral separation in noncovalent molecular clusters


A new method is introduced to determine the extent to which spontaneous chiral separation occurs in small noncovalently bound clusters. Soft‐sampling electrospray ionization was used to transfer noncovalent complexes from solution to the gas phase. Mixing D and L enantiomers with one of the pair isotopically labeled reveals the effect of chirality on cluster stability. The observed cluster distribution is compared to the predicted statistical distribution to determine any preference for homo‐ or heterochirality. Arginine, for example, forms a stable trimer with no preference for the chirality of the individual amino acids. Serine, however, forms a protonated octamer with a pronounced preference for homochirality. The implications of these results for the structures of the complexes are discussed along with the broader implications for the origins of homochirality in living systems (homochirogenesis).

Additional Information

© 2001 Wiley‐Liss, Inc. Special Issue: Proceedings from the 12th International Symposium on Chiral Discrimination, Chamonix‐Mont Blanc, September 2000. Contract grant sponsor: NSF; contract grant number: CHE-9727566; contract grant sponsor: NASA under the Grand Challenge Proposal at JPL. The LCQ mass spectrometer was funded by an instrumentation grant from the NSF.

Additional details

August 21, 2023
August 21, 2023