Mechanism of chiral asymmetry generation by chiral autocatalysis in the preparation of chiral octahedral cobalt complex

Kouichi Asakura, Dilip K. Kondepudi, Reesheda Martin

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30 Citations (Scopus)


Chiral asymmetry generation, the predominant production of one enantiomer in a non-chiral environment, could occur in the production of the chiral complex cis-[CoBr(NH3)(en)2]Br2 by the reaction of [Co(H2O)2{(OH)2Co(en)2}2](SO4)2 with ammonium bromide in an aqueous medium. The main kinetic steps in the reaction system have been determined. During the reaction, the product crystallizes at an early stage. When a very small amount of crystalline enantiomer was added to the reaction system at an early stage, the same enantiomer was produced preferentially; in addition, the enantiomeric excess of the product increased with increasing the stirring rate. Thus, it seems that each enantiomer generates chiral crystals that could self-replicate through secondary nucleation when the solution is stirred; these crystals in turn enhance the production of the same enantiomer. With a computer code that simulates such a kinetic mechanism, it is shown that enantiomeric excess observed in the experiments could be reproduced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-348
Number of pages6
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1998 Jan 1



  • Chiral asymmetry generation
  • Chiral autocatalysis
  • Chiral cobalt complex
  • Primary nucleation
  • Secondary nucleation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Spectroscopy
  • Organic Chemistry

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