Theoretical Investigations of the Chiral Transition of α‑Amino Acid Confined in Various Sized Armchair Boron–Nitride Nanotubes

We computationally study the chiral transition process of the α-Ala molecule under confined different sizes of armchair SWBNNTs to explore the confinement effect. We find that the influence of a confinement environment (in armchair SWBNNTs) on the α-Ala molecule would lead to different reaction pathways. Meanwhile, the preferred reaction pathway is also different in various sizes of armchair SWBNNTs, and their energy barriers for the rate-limiting step decrease rapidly with the decreasing of the diameters of the nanotubes. It is obvious that significant decrease of the chiral transition energy barrier occurs compared with the isolated α-Ala molecule chirality conversion mechanism, by ∼15.6 kcal mol<sup>–1</sup>, highlighting the improvement in the activity the enantiomers of α-Ala molecule. We concluded that the confinement environment has a significant impact at the nanoscale on the enantiomer transformation process of the chiral molecule.