Entrapped energy in chiral solutions: Quantification and information capacity

Meir Shinitzky, Ayelet Shvalb, Avshalom C. Elitzur, Yitzhak Mastai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


A homogeneous solution of a chiral substance stores a residual chemical potential, related to its overall anisotropy. Therefore, by mixing solutions of opposite enantiomers, heat release may take place, corresponding to the mutual anisotropy annulment. In the following study we present proofs for this fundamental, yet unexplored, prediction by measuring the heat released upon mixing of aqueous solutions of D-proline with L-proline, as well as D-alanine with L-alanine, using isothermal titration calorimetry. Heat release in the range of 0.6-6 cal/mol was detected in these intermolecular racemizations at 30° C. Its magnitude varied linearly with the apparent optical rotation, which complied with the possibility that the hydration envelope coating the chiral molecule is of a long-range condensed and asymmetrical configuration thafccan expand by integration with adjacent hydration envelopes. The ordered water in such hydration layers constitutes regions of "negative entropy", a basic medium for information storage. On the basis of our findings, a fundamental expression which combines entropy, information capacity, and thermal energy is proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11004-11008
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number37
StatePublished - 20 Sep 2007


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