Wednesday, 04 January, 2006
Chiral Separation in Microflows
Marcin Kostur, Michael Schindler, Peter Talkner, Peter Hänggi -
Phys. Rev. Lett. 96, 014502 (2006)
Molecules that only differ by their chirality, so-called enantiomers, often possess different properties with respect to their biological function. Therefore, the separation of enantiomers presents a prominent challenge in molecular biology and has long been a main pursuit of organic chemistry. We suggest a new separation technique for chiral molecules that is based on the transport properties in a microfluidic flow with spatially variable vorticity. Because of their size the thermal fluctuating motion of the molecules must be taken into account. These fluctuations play a decisive role in the proposed separation mechanism.