Exploring the mystery of the molecular handedness in nature, scientists have proposed a new experimental scheme to create custom-made mirror molecules for analysis. The technique can make ordinary molecules spin so fast that they lose their normal symmetry and shape and instead form mirrored versions of each other.
The research team from DESY, Universität Hamburg and University College London around group leader Jochen Küpper describes the innovative method in the journal Physical Review Letters (“Climbing the Rotational Ladder to Chirality”). The further exploration of handedness, or chirality (from the ancient Greek word for hand, “cheir”), does not only enhance insight in the workings of nature, but could also pave the way for new materials and methods.
Like your hands, many molecules in nature exist in two versions that are mirror images of each other. “For unknown reasons, life as we know it on Earth almost exclusively prefers left-handed proteins, while the genome is organised as the famous right-handed double helix,” explains Andrey Yachmenev, who lead this theoretical work in Küpper’s group at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL). “For more than a century, researchers are unravelling the secrets of this handedness in nature, which does not only affect the living world: mirror versions of certain molecules alter chemical reactions and change the behaviour of materials.” For instance, the right-handed version of caravone (C10H14O) gives caraway its distinctive taste, while the left-handed version is a key factor for the taste of spearmint.
Handedness, or chirality, only occurs naturally in some types of molecules. “However, it can be artificially induced in so-called symmetric-top molecules,” says co-author Alec Owens from the Center for Ultrafast Imaging (CUI). “If these molecules are stirred fast enough, they lose their symmetry and form two mirror forms, depending on their sense of rotation. So far, very little is known about this phenomenon of rotationally-induced chirality, because hardly any schemes for its generation exist that can be followed experimentally.”
Scientists at Scripps Research identified antibodies that protect against a host of lethal snake venoms. Scripps Research scientists have developed an antibody that can block the effects of lethal toxins in the venoms of [...]
The human brain could be far more powerful than we ever imagined, scientists have discovered. Researchers have identified cell messaging which have never been uncovered before, which suggests our brains are capable of more than previously realised. It’s [...]
A study from the University of California, Davis, and the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) in Argentina reveals that the highly contagious H5N1 avian influenza virus has evolved to transmit among birds and marine mammals, presenting [...]
Atomic force microscopy, or AFM, is a widely used technique that can quantitatively map material surfaces in three dimensions, but its accuracy is limited by the size of the microscope's probe. A new AI [...]
New technology using CRISPR to enhance the immune system’s ability to detect cancer cells has been created, potentially paving the way for innovative cancer treatment methods. Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules are [...]
A new study led by the University of Kansas might resolve a mystery in the “aging process” in species — or, how a species’ risk of going extinct changes after that species appears on the scene. For years, [...]
A decades-old mystery of how natural antimicrobial predatory bacteria are able to recognize and kill other bacteria may have been solved, according to new research. In a study published in Nature Microbiology, researchers from the University [...]
Scientists are investigating whether an oral drug sprinkled with gold nanoparticles could one day treat neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis. The experimental medicine, called CNM-Au8, has now shown success in boosting the [...]
Scientists are a step closer to unraveling the mysterious forces of the universe after working out how to measure gravity on a microscopic level. Experts have never fully understood how the force that was [...]
Recent research reveals a breakthrough in lung repair, showing how delivering VEGFA via lipid nanoparticles can significantly repair damaged blood vessels, akin to plumbing repairs. This method, validated in animal models, offers promising insights [...]
Researchers from the University of Illinois Chicago and Harvard University have created an antibiotic that may provide medicine a new tool to combat bacteria resistant to drugs and the illnesses they trigger. The antibiotic, cresomycin, described in Science, effectively [...]
Elon Musk has claimed the first human patient implanted with his wireless Neuralink brain chip can move a computer cursor ‘just by thinking’. ‘Progress is good, and the patient seems to have made a full recovery, [...]
Vaccines that protect against severe illness, death and lingering long Covid symptoms from a coronavirus infection were linked to small increases in neurological, blood, and heart-related conditions in the largest global vaccine safety study to date. The rare [...]
Scientists propose a new model for classifying Parkinson’s. The complexity of Parkinson’s disease poses significant challenges in developing effective treatments. This complexity stems from various causes, including genetics and environmental factors, coupled with the [...]
A revolutionary nanomaterial with huge potential to tackle multiple global challenges could be developed further without acute risk to human health, research suggests. The study is published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. Carefully controlled inhalation of a [...]
Neurological symptoms are apparently not a result of SARS-CoV-2 infection of the brain. Scientists still are not sure how neurological symptoms arise in COVID-19. Is it because SARS-CoV-2 infects the brain? Or are these symptoms the result [...]
You can adjust all of your cookie settings by navigating the tabs on the left hand side.
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.
What Are Cookies
For more general information on cookies see the Wikipedia article on HTTP Cookies.
You can prevent the setting of cookies by adjusting the settings on your browser (see your browser Help for how to do this). Be aware that disabling cookies will affect the functionality of this and many other websites that you visit. Disabling cookies will usually result in also disabling certain functionality and features of the this site. Therefore it is recommended that you do not disable cookies.
The Cookies We Set
Site preferences cookies. In order to provide you with a great experience on this site we provide the functionality to set your preferences for how this site runs when you use it. In order to remember your preferences we need to set cookies so that this information can be called whenever you interact with a page is affected by your preferences.
Third Party Cookies
This site uses Google Analytics which is one of the most widespread and trusted analytics solutions on the web. It helps us to understand how you use the site and ways that we can improve your experience. These cookies may track things such as how long you spend on the site and the pages that you visit so we can continue to produce engaging content. For more information on Google Analytics cookies, see the official Google Analytics page.
Hopefully that has clarified things for you and as was previously mentioned if there is something that you aren’t sure whether you need or not it’s usually safer to leave cookies enabled in case it does interact with one of the features you use on our site.
However if you are still looking for more information then you can contact us through our preferred contact method: