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  The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2001     
     
 
 

How does a chiral molecule function?

 

The substances used as the starting point for these syntheses are in general not chiral. The trick is to make the product chiral. This is done using a chiral catalyst molecule. Suppose we compare this molecule with a left hand. A left hand will make a better match in a handshake with another left hand (one of the two emerging product forms) than with a right hand (the other form of the product). Thus a chiral catalyst can control production of the desired chiral product.

 
 
 
Based on materials from the 2001 Nobel Poster for Chemistry
Web Adapted Version of the Nobel Poster from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
 


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