The Electron Spin as a Chiral Reagent

Tzuriel S. Metzger, Suryakant Mishra, Brian P. Bloom, Naama Goren, Avner Neubauer, Guy Shmul, Jimeng Wei, Shira Yochelis, Francesco Tassinari, Claudio Fontanesi, David H. Waldeck*, Yossi Paltiel, Ron Naaman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


We show that enantioselective reactions can be induced by the electron spin itself and that it is possible to replace a conventional enantiopure chemical reagent by spin-polarized electrons that provide the chiral bias for enantioselective reactions. Three examples of enantioselective chemistry resulting from electron-spin polarization are presented. One demonstrates the enantioselective association of a chiral molecule with an achiral self-assembled monolayer film that is spin-polarized, while the other two show that the chiral bias provided by the electron helicity can drive both reduction and oxidation in enantiospecific electrochemical reactions. In each case, the enantioselectivity does not result from enantiospecific interactions of the molecule with the ferromagnetic electrode but from the polarized spin that crosses the interface between the substrate and the molecule. Furthermore, the direction of the electron-spin polarization defines the handedness of the enantioselectivity. This work demonstrates a new mechanism for realizing enantioselective chemistry.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1653-1658
Number of pages6
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number4
StatePublished - 20 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Ms. Assunta Green and Dr Pilar Franco from CHIRAL TECHNOLOGIES EUROPE for helping us with the separation procedures. Y.P. acknowledges the support from the Volkswagen Foundation (No. VW 88 367), the Israel Science Foundation (ISF Grant No. 1248/10), the MOS Israel, and John Templeton foundation (60796), and thanks Itamar Harel for the immersion device assembly. R.N. acknowledges the support of the Volkswagen Foundation (No. VW 88 366), the Israel Science Foundation, the MOS Israel, John Templeton foundation (60796), and the Minerva Foundation. D.H.W. acknowledges the support of the John Templeton foundation (60796) and the US National Science Foundation (CHE-1464701).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim


  • chiral-induced spin selectivity
  • chirality
  • electrochemistry
  • enantioselectivity
  • spin


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