Molecular physics of building blocks of life under isolated or defined conditions

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Abstract:

In this paper we motivate the study of biomolecular building blocks under isolated or well defined conditions. We explain why we believe that especially gas phase investigations in combination with quantum chemical calculations can provide new insights into molecular properties, such as structure, molecular recognition, reactivity and photostability. Although the gas phase represents far from in situ conditions, these findings are important for a detailed understanding of biology. We give a short historic overview of gas phase studies of biomolecular building blocks under isolated conditions, present some examples and report the current status of this field. We explain the new quality of synergy between experiment and quantum theory and the unique opportunities therein to discover new pathways for reactivity and to understand biological processes on an atomic level. We sketch the content of this special issue and give a further perspective of the research field of “Spectroscopy of biomolecular building blocks under isolated or defined conditions” and explain the possible connectivity to biology.

Received 29 August 2002 Published online 13 September 2002