In 1965, a chemist named James Schlatter was working on an anti-ulcer drug when he licked his finger to turn the page on a book and tasted a very sweet substance. That substance would later be patented and used to sweeten food and drink products under the name of NutraSweet.
Aspartame is a dipeptide methyl ester with a chemical formula of C14H18N2O5. It is 180 times sweeter than sucrose, which is why it is such a useful artificial sweetener. An interesting fact about aspartame is that we only use the R-enantiomer of the chemical. The S-enantiomer does not have the correct shape to fit onto the binding site for sweetness receptors on our tongue. Shown below is the chemical structure that you will find in NutraSweet.