The Taiwan–Japan Collaboration Research Team, formed by Assistant Professor Ming-Chia Li of the Department of Biological Science & Technology at National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University, Associate Professor Tomoyasu Hirai of the Osaka Institute of Technology, and Professor Teruaki Hayakawa of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, has synthesized and developed a stereoregular acrylic polymer material containing polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS) through molecular design. Using high-temperature charring, the team successfully created silicon dioxide supramolecular helical structures, the line width of which is less than 1 nm, that demonstrates outstanding optical activity. Their findings are presented in the article entitled “Chiral Silica with Preferred-Handed Helical Structure via Chiral Transfer, ”published on April 1, 2021 in the American Chemical Society journal JACS Au.
Assistant Professor Li noted that the research team produced a POSS-containing methylacrylate monomer, employing high-molecular-weight polymerization to control and synthesize a stereoregular isotropic acrylic polymer material. Subsequently, the rotational inductive effect and steric hindrance were coordinated to control the spinning of the POSS around the helical structures. These structures remained intact after high-temperature charring at 620°C, and helical structures smaller than chiral silicon dioxide particles were formed, indicating a highly favorable level of optical activity. In most cases, chiral silicon dioxide is prepared through the sol–gel process. However, because this method involves subjecting the particle surface to chemical treatment for the attachment of chiral molecules, large-scale, orderly manufacturing of helical structures smaller than 1 nm is challenging. Furthermore, numerous complex procedures must be performed. The Taiwan–Japan Collaboration Research Team developed a simple method for preparing chiral silicon dioxide that retains structural integrity and yields helical structures smaller than the chiral silicon dioxide molecules produced through existing processes. The findings are beneficial to pharmaceutical development in the field of asymmetric synthesis and chiral resolution.
The research funding and equipment were jointly provided by the Center for Intelligent Drug Systems and Smart Bio-devices, Office of Higher Education Sprout Project; the Project for Junior Researcher, Ministry of Science and Technology; Institute of Biotechnology, National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University; and the Japan New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization.