Molecular design, chemical synthesis, and structural analysis constitute the three principle components of modern stereochemistry. Stereochemical investigations draw upon concepts from many disciplines and implement techniques such as synthetic methodology, X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, and computational theory. This makes the field central to the pursuit of chemical science.
The transmission of structural and stereochemical information is fundamental to selective chemical processes. The molecular recognition regulating biochemical interactions, the enantioselectivity stemming from ligand-accelerated catalytic cycles, and the self assembly of designed materials all rely on the transfer of such information with great integrity.
In the area of static stereochemistry, problems of novel structure motivate the research. The concepts of symmetry and molecular bonding lead to the design of new chemical structures. The syntheses of such structures must overcome the effects of strain, steric bulk, and entwined molecular connectivity. Conventional methodologies often break down in these pursuits and alternatives must be found. The elucidation of these structures requires X-ray crystallographic analysis and modern NMR techniques. Computational theory serves as an inspirational model at the project`s outset and the final comparison of theory and experiment drives the development of computational methods.
Dynamic stereochemistry also relies heavily on the design and synthesis of new molecular structures. An additional design complexity enters here, because both the structure and its internal motions must be controlled with regard to symmetry, sterics, and strain. New problems in synthesis arise from these added constraints. In special cases, X-ray crystallography is helpful in dynamic studies, and a variety of dynamic NMR techniques play an intensified role. Computational studies in the areas of chemical dynamics are at the forefront of chemical research. Active projects include (1) design and synthesis of non-planar aromatics, topological stereoisomers, dendrimers, and helicates, (2) dynamic stereochemistry of metal-arene systems, and (3) Polar interactions.