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A Synthetic Replicator Drives a Propagating Reaction–Diffusion Front

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journal contribution
posted on 13.05.2016, 00:00 by Ilaria Bottero, Jürgen Huck, Tamara Kosikova, Douglas Philp
A simple synthetic autocatalytic replicator is capable of establishing and driving the propagation of a reaction–diffusion front within a 50 μL syringe. This replicator templates its own synthesis through a 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition reaction between a nitrone component, equipped with a 9-ethynyl­anthracene optical tag, and a maleimide. Kinetic studies using NMR and UV–vis spectroscopies confirm that the replicator forms efficiently and with high diastereo­selectivity, and this replication process brings about a dramatic change in optical properties of the samplea change in the color of the fluorescence in the sample from yellow to blue. The addition of a small amount of the preformed replicator at a specific location within a microsyringe, filled with the reaction building blocks, results in the initiation and propagation of a reaction–diffusion front. The realization of a replicator capable of initiating a reaction–diffusion front provides a platform for the examination of interconnected replicating networks under out-of-equilibrium conditions involving diffusion processes.