Stereodynamic complexes of copper were found to undergo inversion of a helical chiral element upon oxidation or reduction. The amino acid methionine was derivatized by the attachment of two chromophores to the nitrogen atom. The resultant ligands formed stable complexes with Cu(I) and Cu(II) salts. For a derivative of a given absolute chirality, the complexes afford nearly mirror image circular dichroism spectra. The spectral changes originate from reorientation of the nitrogen-attached chromophores due to a conformation interconversion driven by the exchange of a carboxylate for a sulfide ligand. The electrically induced chirality inversion coupled with strong interactions with polarized light is unique and may lead to novel chiral molecular devices.
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