Multiscale Modeling Approach for the Aldol Addition Reaction in Multicompartment Micelle-Based Nanoreactor

Jinwon Cho, Marcus Weck, Sungu Hwang, Seung Soon Jang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Water has emerged as a versatile solvent for organic chemistry in recent years due to its abundance, low cost, and environmental friendliness. However, one of the most important reactions, the aldol reaction, in the presence of excess water exhibits low yields and poor enantioselectivities. In this regard, we have employed a multiscale modeling approach to investigate the aldol addition reaction catalyzed by l-proline in the hydrophobic compartment of multicompartment micelle (MCM) nanoreactor consisting of amphiphilic bottlebrush copolymer, which minimizes the water content at the reactive site. Through performing dissipative particle dynamics (DPD) simulation, it is found that the “clover-like” morphology of the MCM is formed from multiblock copolymer with a sequence of ethylene oxide-based hydrophilic blocks, styrene lipophilic blocks, l-proline catalyst blocks, and a pentafluorostyrene fluorophilic block in aqueous media. We find that the vicinity of the catalyst in the clover-like MCM has a low dielectric environment, which could facilitate the aldol addition reaction. Our DFT calculations demonstrate that the asymmetric aldol addition of l-proline-catalyzed acetone and 4-nitrobenzaldehyde is energetically more favorable under the low dielectric environment in MCM compared with other commonly used solvents such as DMSO, water, and vacuum condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10067-10076
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number46
StatePublished - Nov 23 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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