Density functional theory studies for separation of enantiomers of a chiral species by enantiospecific adsorption on solid surfaces
Han, Jeong Woo
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The distinct response of biological systems to the two enantiomers of a chiral chemical has led to a large market for enantiopure pharmaceuticals and raised fundamental issues about the origin of biological homochirality. It is therefore important to understand the interactions of chiral molecules with chiral environments. Chiral environments associated with solid surfaces could potentially play a useful role in chirally specific chemical processing. There are a variety of routes for creating chiral solid surfaces. Surfaces of materials whose bulk crystal structure is enantiomorphic can be used as one type of chiral solid surfaces. Metal surfaces that are intrinsically chiral due to the presence of kinked surface steps provide another route for creating chiral solid surfaces. Alternatively, we can impart chirality onto surfaces by attaching irreversibly adsorbing chiral organic species on otherwise achiral surfaces. Understanding and ultimately controlling enantiospecific interactions of molecules on this kind of surfaces requires detailed insight into the adsorption geometries and energies of these complex interfaces. To tackle these issues, we performed density functional theory (DFT) calculations that have proved to be a useful tool for quantitative prediction of these effects. Besides our main topic above, we theoretically examine the effects of K atoms as a promoter coadsorbed with small molecules on Mo2C surfaces, a promising catalyst for a range of chemicals applications. Our results in this thesis provide fundamental information about these systems and demonstrate that using DFT for this purpose can be a useful means of identifying the phenomena that control chiral surface chemistry.