When Cecilia Bottecchia of Eindhoven University synthesizes a family of modified amino acids, they give her a dramatic indication of their purity: They transition suddenly from an oil to a solid under a vacuum. After making this particular compound a handful of times, “I noticed that the purer the final compound, the more sudden and spectacular its transformation to white solid,” she says. “In other words, I know I did things right when I see this happening,” she says, referring to the video she shot of the dramatic transformation . Bottecchia studies the use of microflow reactors and photoredox catalysis to modify biomolecules in the labs of Timothy Noël.
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