Professor Chris Baddeley of EaStCHEM School of Chemistry will deliver his Inaugural Lecture ‘Constructing Chiral Architectures at Surfaces’.
Many organic and inorganic molecules exhibit chirality, i.e., they exist in two enantiomeric forms that are non-superimposable mirror images. Biomolecular homochirality is an intriguing mystery of life on Earth: where peptides and enzymes are constructed from left-handed amino acids and the sugar residues in DNA are exclusively right-handed.
The fact that living organisms on Earth contain chiral building blocks leads to important practical consequences. For example, two enantiomers often exhibit significantly different biological activity. Consequently, the development of enantioselective catalysts is increasingly important in the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries.
Chris’ interest has been in enantioselective heterogeneous catalysis where the reaction to form chiral products occurs at the interface between a liquid phase and a solid catalyst. Using a range of analytical techniques capable of nanoscale imaging or spectroscopic characterisation of surfaces, his aim has been to determine how existing heterogeneous enantioselective catalysts operate; to understand the factors that limit their performance and to examine strategies to improve their design.