This project focuses on the development of a rapid separation method for enantiomers, which will open an important and novel approach for the investigation of chiral chemical interactions in biological and environmental systems. From drug discovery to measuring metabolic age, the ability to identify and distinguish the active chiral agent is of paramount importance. In this age of rapid methods of separation and detection, chiral selectivity is often the limiting step in an analytical or screening procedure.
While the measurement and identification of compounds can now be accomplished in micro-seconds by time-of-flight mass spectrometry, mass spectrometry cannot separate or identify individual enantiomers. When racemates must be analyzed, such as, in the quantification of the active chiral agent in a drug formulation or the identification of correct enantiomer in drug discovery, complex and time consuming chromatographic separations are required. Preliminary results show that by using selective chiral gases, IMS has the potential of separating chiral analytes.