Amplification of Chirality in Dynamic Supramolecular Aggregates



The quest to understand the origin of chirality in biological systems has evoked an intense search for nonlinear effects in catalysis and pathways to amplify slight enantiomeric excesses in racemates to give optically pure molecules. The amplification of chirality in polymeric systems as a result of cooperative processes has been intensely investigated. Ten years ago, this effect was shown for the first time in noncovalent dynamic supramolecular systems. Since then, it has become clear that a subtle interplay of noncovalent interactions such as hydrogen-bonding, π–π stacking, and hydrophobic interactions is also sufficient to observe amplification of chirality in small molecules. Here we summarize the results obtained over the past decade and the general guidelines we can deduce from them. Predicting amplification of chirality is still impossible, but it appears to be a balance between different types of interactions, the formation of an intrinsically chiral object, and cooperative aggregation processes.