Stereochemical language in supramolecular polymer chemistry: How we can do better

Anja R. A. Palmans, E. W. Meijer, Scott E. Denmark

Published: 15 June 2021


Stereochemical nomenclature remains a point of attention; especially now different fields in chemistry become more and more entwined. The ubiquitously used terminology “amplification of chirality” is fundamentally incorrect, as chirality cannot be amplified. Instead, we now recommend “amplification of asymmetry” as an alternative in the field of (supramolecular) polymer chemistry. Amplification of asymmetry refers to the increase of the magnitude of the asymmetry in the enantiomeric composition either at the molecular or the supramolecular level, and covers observations of nonproportional increase in optical activity in helical (supramolecular) polymers and in high enantiomeric excesses found when nonlinear effects are operative in asymmetric catalysis.


Amplification of asymmetry is a more appropriate term than amplification of chirality to describe the excess formation of one kind of helical superstructures starting from a low enantiomeric excess in the monomers. Chirality is strictly a topographic feature of molecules, whereas asymmetry can also refer to the imbalance in the enantiomeric composition of either molecules or helical superstructures.


Full Access Link: Journal of Polymer Science