Molecular Recognition at Crystal Interfaces

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Science  09 Aug 1991:
Vol. 253, Issue 5020, pp. 637-645
DOI: 10.1126/science.253.5020.637


Nucleation, growth, and dissolution of crystals have been studied by stereochemical approach involving molecular recognition at interfaces. A methodology is described for using ``tailor-made'' additives designed to interact stereospecifically with crystal surfaces during growth and dissolution. This procedure was instrumental in controlling crystal morphology and in revising the concept of the structure and symmetry of solid solutions. Consequently, it was applied to the transformation of centrosymmetric single crystals into solid solutions with polar arrangement displaying second-harmonic generation and to the performance of asymmetric synthesis of guest molecules inside centrosymmetric host crystals. The method has led to a discovery of a new ``relay'' mechanism explaining the effect of solvent on crystal growth. Finally, it allowed for the design of auxiliary molecules that act as promoters or inhibitors of crystal nucleation that can be used to resolve enantiomers and crystallize desired polymorphs.

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