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Inversion of Supramolecular Chirality by In Situ Hydrolyzation of Achiral Diethylene Glycol Motifs

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journal contribution
posted on 03.02.2022, 17:14 by Shuting Wang, Laiben Gao, Nan Su, Li Yang, Fengli Gao, Xiaoqiu Dou, Chuanliang Feng
Chiral inversion of supramolecular assemblies is of great research interest due to its broad practical applications. However, chiral structure transition induced by in situ regulation of building molecules has remained a challenge. Herein, left-handed fibrous assemblies were constructed by C2-symmetic l-phenylalanine coupled with diethylene glycol (LPFEG) molecules. In situ hydrolyzing terminal diethylene glycol motifs in LPFEG successfully inverted the chirality of the nanofibers from left- to right-handedness. The transition of right-handed fibers into left-handed fibers could also be achieved via hydrolyzing DPFEG molecules. Circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy, 1D and 2D nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy revealed that the back-folded achiral diethylene glycol played a vital role in L/DPFEG molecular arrangements and removing terminal diethylene glycol could induce the opposite rotation of molecular assemblies. Thanks to this merit, the enantioselective separation of racemic phenylalanine was obtained and the enantiomeric excess (ee) values could achieve around ±20% after separation. This study not only provides a new strategy to regulate the chiral structure via dynamic modulation of terminal substituents but also presents a promising application in the field of enantioselective separation.