A synthetic replicator drives a propagating reaction-diffusion front

Ilaria Bottero, Juergen Huck, Tamara Kosikova, Douglas Philp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


A simple synthetic autocatalytic replicator is capable of establishing and driving the propagation of a reaction-diffusion front within a 50 µL syringe. This replicator templates its own synthesis through a 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition reaction between a nitrone component, equipped with a 9-ethynylanthracene optical tag, and a maleimide. Kinetic studies using NMR and UV-Vis spectroscopies confirm that the replicator forms ef-ficiently and with high diastereoselectivity and this rep-lication process brings about a dramatic change in opti-cal properties of the sample – a change in the color of the fluorescence in the sample from yellow to blue. The addition of a small amount of the pre-formed replicator at a specific location within a microsyringe, filled with the reaction building blocks, results in the initiation and propagation of a reaction-diffusion front. The realization of a replicator capable of initiating a reaction-diffusion front provides a platform for the examination of inter-connected replicating networks under non-equilibrium conditions involving diffusion processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6723-6726
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number21
Early online date13 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


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