Project H - Chirality recognition as an experimental benchmarking tool
Chiral molecules recognize the relative chirality of partner molecules through subtle intermolecular interactions. This molecular handshake has spectroscopic, thermodynamic and kinetic implications for the molecular pairs that are best explored at low temperature in the gas phase. By studying these molecular recognition effects using unique vibrational spectroscopy setups in the Suhm group, one can test the performance of electronic structure methods quite rigorously, down to the sub-kJ/mol level. It has even been speculated that there may be new kinds of chirality-dependent forces based on spin polarization. In any case, there are intriguing competitions between attractive and repulsive forces to be discovered and concepts like chirality discrimination, chirality induction and chirality synchronization to be dissected using terpenes, lactates, and other chiral model systems. This has practical implications - e.g. one can even smell the chirality of molecules in favorable cases.