The Advanced Photon Source
a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility

Physical Chemistry: "Electrons with a Twist"


The direction of an electron's spin is sufficient to determine the decomposition rate of the two mirror-image forms of a molecule.

Richard Rosenberg of Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois and his colleagues drew this conclusion after firing X-rays at a magnetic iron-nickel alloy coated with thin layers of 2-butanol. This freed electrons from the alloy, and their spins aligned with its magnetic field.

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Nature 456, 425 (27 November 2008) doi:10.1038/456425c

Published online 26 November 2008

© 2008 Nature Publishing Group

Original article: Phys. Rev. Lett. 101, 178301 (2008)

Published Date