Kinetic model for the chiral symmetry breaking transition in the growth front of a conglomerate crystal phase

Kouichi Asakura, Yasushi Nagasaka, Shuichi Osanai, Dilip K. Kondepudi

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11 Citations (Scopus)


In its molten phase, 1,1′-binaphthyl is racemic due to its high racemization rate, but it can crystallize as a conglomerate of R and S crystals. Our experiments have indicated that, under some conditions, the crystal growth front of 1,1′-binaphthyl shows many of the characteristics of an open system in which chiral symmetry is broken; i.e., the growing solid phase becomes predominantly R or S. Here we present a kinetic model to explain the observed chiral symmetry breaking. The model is based on growth due to attachment of R or S growth units to a crystal surface in a supercooled melt, Chiral symmetry breaking occurs due to chirally autocatalytic formation of R or S growth units on the growth surface. Unlike the many models suggested and studied in the 1980s, there is no cross-inhibition between R- and S-enantiomer in the model presented here. In our model, asymmetric and symmetric steady-state solutions that do not intersect were found. Through linear stability analysis, the critical point, at which a symmetric solution becomes unstable and makes a transition to an asymmetric solution, is determined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1586-1592
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Feb 3


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry

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