The duo received the Nobel Prize 2021 in Chemistry for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis. Asymmetric organocatalysis (or enantioselective synthesis) is a key process in modern chemistry and is particularly important in the field of pharmaceuticals, as the different enantiomers or diastereomers of a molecule often have different biological activity.
The differentiation of these enantiomers is best done by diffraction in determining the absolute configuration, e.g. with X-rays on single crystals of 50 to 500 µm or with electron diffraction on crystallites as small as 50 to 500 nm! Electron Diffraction is gaining momentum in science and industry. The application of ED for performing nanocrystallography is a disruptive innovation that is opening up fascinating new perspectives particularly for organic compounds required in the fields of chemical and pharmaceutical research.