Chiral separation in microflows

Peter Talkner, Universität Augsburg

Molecules that only differ by their chirality, so called enantiomers, often possess different properties with respect to their biological function. Therefore, the separation of enantiomers presents a prominent challenge in molecular biology and belongs to the ``Holy Grail'' of organic chemistry. This talk we will start with a short overview over the theoretical background and some of the experimental applications of surface acoustic wave generated flows in microfluidic systems. In this context we suggest a new separation technique for chiral molecules that is based on their transport properties in a microfluidic flows with spatially variable vorticity. Because of their size the thermal, fluctuating motion of the molecules must be taken into account. These fluctuations will be shown to play a decisive role in the proposed separation mechanism.