How does a chiral molecule function?

 

  The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2001     
     
 

 

 

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
 

To cite this section
MLA style: How does a chiral molecule function?. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2024. Mon. 22 Jul 2024. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/chemistry/2001/9094-how-does-a-chiral-molecule-function/>

Back to top Back To Top Takes users back to the top of the page

Nobel Prizes and laureates

Eleven laureates were awarded a Nobel Prize in 2023, for achievements that have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind. Their work and discoveries range from effective mRNA vaccines and attosecond physics to fighting against the oppression of women.

See them all presented here.
Illustration

Explore prizes and laureates

Look for popular awards and laureates in different fields, and discover the history of the Nobel Prize.