The transient covalent bond in abiotic nonequilibrium systems

Lasith S. Kariyawasam, Mohammad Mosharraf Hossain, and C. Scott Hartley*
Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 2021, 60, 12648–12658
[Published version | DOE-PAGES]


Biochemical systems accomplish many critical functions with by operating out‐of‐equilibrium using the energy of chemical fuels. The formation of a transient covalent bond is a simple but very effective tool in designing analogous reaction networks. This Minireview focuses on the fuel chemistries that have been used to generate transient bonds in recent demonstrations of abiotic nonequilibrium systems (i.e., systems that do not make use of biological components). Fuel reactions are divided into two fundamental classifications depending on whether the fuel contributes structural elements to the activated state, a distinction that dictates how they can be used. Reported systems are further categorized by overall fuel reaction (e.g., hydrolysis of alkylating agents, carbodiimide hydration) and illustrate how similar chemistry can be used to effect a wide range of nonequilibrium behavior, ranging from self‐assembly to the operation of molecular machines.