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Chiral molecules are molecules that behave as image and mirror image to each other; these are also called enantiomers. There is a demand in pure enantiomers, which can be created for the use of a variety of industries, such as drugs for the pharmaceutical industry or herbicides for agrochemistry. ANDREAS SEIDEL-MORGENSTERN and his research team investigate access to these pure enantiomers. To achieve this, they work on separating the two enantiomers,
complementing alternative approaches devoted to synthesize just one of them. For this, they use racemic mixtures – which contain equal amounts of left- and right-handed enantiomers of a chiral molecule – and then split these racemates. The separation process they managed to develop for this, as is described in this video, allows them to produce larger quantities of pure enantiomers from cheap available mixtures than was possible before. This means that these can now also be produced more effectively in industrial contexts.


Andreas Seidel-Morgenstern is Director and Scientific Member at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems. He is also Professor of Chemical Process Engineering at the University of Magdeburg. In 2016, he was appointed Vice President of the International Adsorption Society (IAS). In addition, he is also member of several editorial boards, for instance Adsorption and the Chemical Engineering Journal. He has received numerous awards, including the ‘Humanity in Science Award’.


Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems

The dynamics of recent global economic and ecologic changes necessitate both the development of sustainable production processes and the establishment of future-oriented technologies. This applies particularly to the more efficient production of chemicals and (bio)pharmaceuticals as well as to the transformation and storage of renewable energies.

The main goal of the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems in Magdeburg (MPI) is to contribute to the establishment and design of processes with ever-increasing complexity and to their economic, safe and efficient operation.

MPI scientists from different disciplines such as process engineering, chemistry, biology, biotechnology, mathematics and computer sciences develop mathematical models and computer-aided methods to simulate dynamic processes and describe their complex behavior in detail. Based on an analysis of the respective system properties, innovative approaches are developed and comprehensively evaluated. Model validation and testing of new concepts are supported by extensive experimental studies both at the laboratory and at the pilot scale level.

The MPI, founded as the first engineering institute of the Max Planck Society, started its scientific work in Magdeburg in 1998 and currently employs about 230 people. The current research focus of the institute is on the areas of chemical process engineering, bioprocess engineering, systems biology and synthetic biology, numerical mathematics, energy und process systems engineering as well as systems and control theory.

The International Max Planck Research School Magdeburg, a cooperation of the Max Planck Institute and the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, provides an excellent training and research program for Ph.D. students.

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Original publication

Continuous Preferential Crystallization of Chiral Molecules in Single and Coupled Mixed-Suspension Mixed-Product-Removal Crystallizers

Galan Kamila, Eicke Matthias J, Elsner Martin P, Lorenz Heike and Seidel-Morgenstern Andreas
Crystal Growth & Design
Published in 2015