Enantioselective Synthesis of Amino Acids by Photocatalytic Reduction of CO2 on Chiral Mesostructured ZnS

26 December 2023, Version 2
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Reduction and fixation of CO2 in natural systems via solar energy generates diverse products, ranging from small molecules to biomolecules. To date, only a few multicarbon species have been obtained by artificial CO2 photoreduction1-5, especially abiotic photosynthesis of biomolecules with various functional groups, which has long been a fundamental yet challenging issue. Herein, we report the photocatalytic synthesis of amino acids from CO2 and NH3 on a chiral mesostructured ZnS (CMZ) nanosphere, which is constructed by arrays of chiral nanorods. Serine (Ser) is the main component of various amino acids, with an enantiomeric excess (ee) greater than 96% and a total yield of over 30 μmol gcat-1. The Ser formation pathway could be accessed through *OCCO intermediates due to C-C coupling, as demonstrated by experimental data. Chiral-induced spin polarization of CMZ has been speculated to facilitate the separation of photogenerated carriers and the production of stable triplet OCCO. Different activation energies of reduction reactions driven by the spin-polarized electrons in CMZ lead to the formation of enantiomeric amino acids. Our findings will inspire new perspectives in catalytic theory and the formation of chiral biomolecules in artificial synthesis and nature.


photocatalytic CO2 reduction
amino acids
enantioselective synthesis

Supplementary materials

Supplementary Information
Supplementary Figures, Tables and Notes for detailed experiments condition, material characterizations, control experiments and DFT calculations


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.