On the application of chiral amplification via adsorption

Titus S. van Erp, David Dubbeldam, Sofia Calero, Johan A. Martens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Chiral amplification is a known phenomenon in crystallization. Recent atomistic simulations have shown that amplification can also occur in equilibrium processes when a mixtures of chiral molecules adsorb in metal-substituted zeolites that are not chiral by themselves. In this article we investigate how this process could be exploited for enantiopurification and separation in a pressure-swing adsorption process. For this purpose, we develop a mathematical model that reproduces the main features of the full-atom simulations and allows us to study the impact of several parameters on the enantioselectivity on a macroscopic scale. Besides numerical solutions of this model, we provide some analytic results which suggests that the enantioselective materials prohibit a phase transition as a function of temperature. Below a certain critical temperature, the enantiomeric content of the adsorbed phase becomes a discontinuous function of the enantiomeric gas content. This has the following consequences: (i) the adsorbed phase in racemic conditions becomes unstable, (ii) a sudden increase in efficiency of the purification process, and (iii) the possibility to not only purify but also fully separate chiral mixtures using a parallel batch process in which both lines use an input that is enriched with opposite enantiomer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6478-6485
Number of pages8
JournalChemical Engineering Science
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Adsorption
  • Chirality
  • Mathematical modelling
  • Separations
  • Statistical thermodynamics
  • Zeolites


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