Globally homochiral assembly of two-dimensional molecular networks triggered by co-absorbers

Nat Commun. 2013;4:1389. doi: 10.1038/ncomms2403.


Understanding the chirality induction and amplification processes, and the construction of globally homochiral surfaces, represent essential challenges in surface chirality studies. Here we report the induction of global homochirality in two-dimensional enantiomorphous networks of achiral molecules via co-assembly with chiral co-absorbers. The scanning tunnelling microscopy investigations and molecular mechanics simulations demonstrate that the point chirality of the co-absorbers transfers to organizational chirality of the assembly units via enantioselective supramolecular interactions, and is then hierarchically amplified to the global homochirality of two-dimensional networks. The global homochirality of the network assembly shows nonlinear dependence on the enantiomeric excess of chiral co-absorber in the solution phase, demonstrating, for the first time, the validation of the 'majority rules' for the homochirality control of achiral molecules at the liquid/solid interface. Such an induction and nonlinear chirality amplification effect promises a new approach towards two-dimensional homochirality control and may reveal important insights into asymmetric heterogeneous catalysis, chiral separation and chiral crystallization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't