Asymmetric reactions induced by electron spin polarization
Essential aspects of the chiral induced spin selectivity (CISS) effect and their implications for spin-controlled chemistry and asymmetric electrochemical reactions are described. The generation of oxygen through electrolysis is discussed as an example in which chirality-based spin-filtering and spin selection rules can be used to improve the reaction's efficiency and selectivity. Next the discussion shifts to illustrate how the spin selectivity of chiral molecules (CISS properties) allows one to use the electron spin as a chiral bias for inducing asymmetric reactions and promoting enantiospecific processes. Two enantioselective electrochemical reactions that have used polarized electron spins as a chiral reagent are described; enantioselective electroreduction to resolve an enantiomer from a racemic mixture and an oxidative electropolymerization to generate a chiral polymer from achiral monomers. A complementary approach that has used spin-polarized, but otherwise achiral, molecular films to enantiospecifically associate with one enantiomer from a racemic mixture is also discussed. Each of these reaction types use magnetized films to generate the spin polarized electrons and the enantiospecificity can be selected by choice of the magnetization direction, North pole versus South pole. Possible paths for future research in this area and its compatibility with existing methods based on chiral electrodes are discussed.