Topics in Catalysis

, Volume 54, Issue 19–20, pp 1429–1444 | Cite as

Chirality in Amino Acid Overlayers on Cu Surfaces

  • Marian L. Clegg
  • Leonardo Morales de la Garza
  • Sofia Karakatsani
  • David A. King
  • Stephen M. Driver
Original paper


Chirality at surfaces has become a strong focus within the surface science community. A particular motivation is the prospect of using heterogeneous catalysis over chiral solid surfaces for asymmetric synthesis, a prospect which has clear relevance to the pharmaceutical industry. Small amino acids adsorbed on Cu surfaces have emerged as important model systems for studying the interaction of chiral molecules with metal surfaces. In this article, we review the current state of knowledge of these systems, and present the results of new experimental studies of alanine overlayers on Cu{311} and {531} surfaces. Our work on Cu{311} helps us to understand the interplay between different manifestations of chirality, especially “footprint chirality”, in the overlayers. Cu{531} is an intrinsically chiral surface orientation; our data reveal strongly enantiospecific alanine-induced restructuring of this surface. This points the way towards a promising route for obtaining strongly enantiospecific interactions with chiral adsorbates.


Chiral Heterogeneous catalysis Enantioselectivity Surfaces Scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) Low-energy electron diffraction (LEED) Amino acids Alanine Glycine Copper Self-organization Restructuring 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marian L. Clegg
    • 1
  • Leonardo Morales de la Garza
    • 2
  • Sofia Karakatsani
    • 1
  • David A. King
    • 1
  • Stephen M. Driver
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Centro de Nanociencias y NanotecnologiaUniversidad Nacional Autonoma de MexicoEnsenadaMexico

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