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Phys Rev Lett. 2014 Sep 12;113(11):118103. Epub 2014 Sep 12.

Chirally sensitive electron-induced molecular breakup and the Vester-Ulbricht hypothesis.

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Jorgensen Hall, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska 68588-0299, USA.


We have studied dissociative electron attachment in sub-eV collisions between longitudinally polarized electrons and chiral bromocamphor molecules. For a given target enantiomer, the dissociative Br anion production depends on the helicity of the incident electrons, with an asymmetry that depends on the electron energy and is of order 3×10^{-4}. The existence of chiral sensitivity in a well-defined molecular breakup reaction demonstrates the viability of the Vester-Ulbrict hypothesis, namely, that the longitudinal polarization of cosmic beta radiation was responsible for the origins of biological homochirality.

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