Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Molecules wrestle for supremacy in creation of superstructures

The molecules in the majority form the superstructure while the minority remain disordered
The molecules in the majority form the superstructure while the minority remain disordered

Abstract:
Research at the University of Liverpool has found how mirror-image molecules gain control over each other and dictate the physical state of superstructures.

Molecules wrestle for supremacy in creation of superstructures

UK | Posted on August 15th, 2009

The research team studied ‘chiral' or ‘different-handed' molecules which are distinguishable by their inability to be superimposed onto their mirror image. Such molecules are common - proteins use just one mirror form of amino acids and DNA, one form of sugars. Chirality leads to profound differences in the way a molecule functions - for example, drugs such as thalidomide can have positive effects on a patient but can prove harmful in their mirror image form.

Molecules can also assemble in large numbers and form ‘superstructures' such as snowflakes which are created from large numbers of water molecules. When chiral molecules assemble they can create ‘handed' superstructures; for example left-handed molecules can assemble together to make a left-handed superstructure. The Liverpool team studied this process in detail by assembling molecules at flat surfaces and using imaging techniques to map the formation of superstructures at nanoscale level.

Before now, scientists have not known whether, in systems containing both left-handed and right-handed molecules, one mirror-form of a molecule could take supremacy over its opposite number in the creation of superstructures, dictating their physical state and chemical and biological properties.

The research found that when equal numbers of mirror-molecules are present at the surface, they organise into separate left and right-handed superstructures, each with distinctly different properties. Crucially, a small imbalance in the population leads to a dramatic difference and only the molecules in the majority assemble into its superstructure, while the minority is left disordered at the surface and unable to create advanced molecular matter.

Professor Rasmita Raval from the University's Surface Science Research Centre said: "We were surprised at these results. All perceived wisdom was that the left and right-handed molecules would simply create their respective superstructures in quantities that reflected the molecular ratio - that is, we would observe proportional representation. Instead, what we obtained was a kind of ‘molecular democracy' that worked on a ‘first-past-the-post' system where the majority population wrested chiral control of the superstructures and the minority was left disorganised."

Theoretical modelling carried out by the University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands found that this behaviour arises from the effects of entropy, or disorder, which leads the chiral molecules in the majority to preferentially organise into their superstructure.

The work has important implications in the pharmaceuticals industry and could lead to the development of surface processes to enable separation of drugs and products that are currently difficult to purify. The research also introduces the possibility that assembly processes at surfaces may naturally have led to the evolution of proteins and DNA - the molecules of life - containing just one mirror form of amino acids and sugars.

The research, in collaboration with the University of Eindhoven, is published in Nature Chemistry.

####

About University of Liverpool
The University of Liverpool is a world leading research university. Its history dates back to 1881 and the establishment of University College Liverpool.

Liverpool is the original redbrick university. The term 'redbrick' was inspired from the iconic Victoria Building, completed in 1892.

Today, the University continues to expand its teaching and research with centres of excellence in areas such as medicine, engineering and veterinary science. It is a member of the Russell Group, the association of the UK's top 20 research-led universities.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Kate Spark
Media Relations Manager
Phone: work +44 (0) 151 794 2247
Out of hours (cell+44 (0) 7970 247391)

Copyright © University of Liverpool

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Dartmouth team creates new method to control quantum systems May 24th, 2016

Light can 'heal' defects in new solar cell materials: Defects in some new electronic materials can be removed by making ions move under illumination May 24th, 2016

Attosecond physics: A switch for light-wave electronics May 24th, 2016

Supercrystals with new architecture can enhance drug synthesis May 24th, 2016

Chemistry

Syracuse University chemists add color to chemical reactions: Chemists in the College of Arts and Sciences have come up with an innovative new way to visualize and monitor chemical reactions in real time May 19th, 2016

Technique improves the efficacy of fuel cells: Research demonstrates a new phase transition from metal to ionic conductor May 18th, 2016

Physicists measure van der Waals forces of individual atoms for the first time May 14th, 2016

Atomic force microscope reveals molecular ghosts: Mapping molecules with atomic precision expands toolbox for designing new catalytic reactions May 11th, 2016

Possible Futures

Dartmouth team creates new method to control quantum systems May 24th, 2016

Light can 'heal' defects in new solar cell materials: Defects in some new electronic materials can be removed by making ions move under illumination May 24th, 2016

Attosecond physics: A switch for light-wave electronics May 24th, 2016

Supercrystals with new architecture can enhance drug synthesis May 24th, 2016

Nanomedicine

Supercrystals with new architecture can enhance drug synthesis May 24th, 2016

Nanoscale Trojan horses treat inflammation May 24th, 2016

Programmable materials find strength in molecular repetition May 23rd, 2016

Tiny packages may pack powerful treatment for brain tumors: Nanocarrier provides efficient delivery of chemotherapeutic drug May 23rd, 2016

Discoveries

Dartmouth team creates new method to control quantum systems May 24th, 2016

Light can 'heal' defects in new solar cell materials: Defects in some new electronic materials can be removed by making ions move under illumination May 24th, 2016

Attosecond physics: A switch for light-wave electronics May 24th, 2016

Supercrystals with new architecture can enhance drug synthesis May 24th, 2016

Announcements

Dartmouth team creates new method to control quantum systems May 24th, 2016

Light can 'heal' defects in new solar cell materials: Defects in some new electronic materials can be removed by making ions move under illumination May 24th, 2016

Attosecond physics: A switch for light-wave electronics May 24th, 2016

Supercrystals with new architecture can enhance drug synthesis May 24th, 2016

Nanobiotechnology

Supercrystals with new architecture can enhance drug synthesis May 24th, 2016

Nanoscale Trojan horses treat inflammation May 24th, 2016

Programmable materials find strength in molecular repetition May 23rd, 2016

Tiny packages may pack powerful treatment for brain tumors: Nanocarrier provides efficient delivery of chemotherapeutic drug May 23rd, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic