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Anisotropy Spectra for Enantiomeric Differentiation of Biomolecular Building Blocks

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  • Amanda C. Evans, University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis, France
  • Cornelia Meinert, University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis, France
  • Jan H. Bredehoft, University of Bremen, Germany
  • C. Giri, University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis, France
  • Nykola C. Jones
  • Søren Vrønning Hoffmann
  • Uwe J. Meierhenrich, University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis, France
All biopolymers are composed of homochiral building blocks, and both D-sugars and L-amino acids uniquely constitute life on Earth. These monomers were originally enantiomerically differentiated under prebiotic conditions. Particular progress has recently been made in support of the photochemical model for this differentiation: the interaction of circularly polarized light with racemic molecules is currently thought to have been the original source for life’s biological homochirality. The differential asymmetric photoreactivity of particular small molecules can be characterized by both circular dichroism and anisotropy spectroscopy. Anisotropy spectroscopy, a novel derivative of circular dichroism spectroscopy, records the anisotropy factor g = Δε/ε as a function of the wavelength.
Anisotropy spectroscopy promisingly affords the wavelength-dependent determination of the enantiomeric excess (ee) inducible into chiral organic molecules by photochemical irradiation with circularly polarized light. Anisotropy spectra of small molecules therefore provide unique means for characterizing the different photochemical behaviors between enantiomers upon exposure to various wavelengths of circularly polarized light. This chapter will: (1) present the theory and configuration of anisotropy spectroscopy; (2) explain experimentally recorded anisotropy spectra of selected chiral biomolecules such as amino acids; and (3) discuss the relevance of these spectra for the investigation of the origin of the molecular homochirality observed in living organisms. This review describes a new chiroptical technique that is of significance for advances in asymmetric photochemistry and that is also highly relevant for the European Space Agency Rosetta Mission, which will determine enantiomeric excesses (ees) in chiral organic molecules in cometary ices when it lands on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in November 2014.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDifferentiation of Enantiomers II
EditorsVolker Schurig
Number of pages29
Publication year2013
ISBN (print)978-3-319-03715-8
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-03716-5
Publication statusPublished - 2013
SeriesTopics in Current Chemistry

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