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Chiral-Induced Spin Selectivity Effect

Project description

Probing why chiral molecules act like electron spin filters

Chiral molecules have two different symmetries similar to right- or left-handedness called enantiomers. While moving through chiral molecules, electrons behave as if there is a magnetic field acting on them. This field interacts with their spin; when an electron is transferred through chiral molecules one spin is preferred over the other, depending on the handedness of the molecules and the electron’s direction of motion. This chiral-induced spin selectivity has important implications for chemistry, such as improved control of enantioselective reactions and easier enantiomer separation. Funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, the CISSE project will establish an interdisciplinary collaboration between European, American and Israeli researchers to study the underlying mechanisms of this effect.


Chirality is often considered as a structural properties of molecules, but the concept also applies to elementary particles having a non-zero spin, i.e. electrons at rest are achiral but they acquire a helicity (chirality) in the direction of motion. Consequently, electrons are filtered according to their spin when crossing chiral materials. This newly uncovered chiral-induced spin selectivity (CISS) effect is surprisingly large. Spin polarization up to 100% has been demonstrated paving the way to multiple applications in chemistry, such as improved control of enantioselective reactions and easier separation of enantiomers. Impacts are also expected in physics (spintronics) and biology (molecular recognition of biomolecules, origin of bio-homo-chirality, magnetic compass of migratory songbirds). CISS effect is theoretically ill-defined. Sound structure-property relationship lacks also for the link between molecule chirality and CISS effect magnitude. CISSE proposal intends to contribute to a giant leap forward in the knowledge of CISS effect by putting together some of the best European, American and Israeli experts of the field, who will work towards its fundamental understanding. To this end, members of the CISSE consortium have been selected for their expertise and complementarities encompassing: synthetic chemistry, electrochemistry, surface science, bio-physical chemistry, quantum chemistry, nanoscience, industrial processes, analytical chemistry, and scientific instrument developments. Importantly, some beneficiaries have filled the first patent applications on CISS effect and have started to valorize them. Considerable scope for new discoveries and invention remains because the field of CISS effect is still in its infancy. The topic is particularly suited to educate ESRs because of its novelty and potential. To gain a different perspective on their research activities, ESRs will also contribute to an artistic creation highlighting spin and chirality.


Net EU contribution
€ 525 240,00
1050 Bruxelles / Brussel

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Région de Bruxelles-Capitale/Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest Région de Bruxelles-Capitale/ Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest Arr. de Bruxelles-Capitale/Arr. Brussel-Hoofdstad
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
No data

Participants (7)

Partners (6)