Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 84–89

β-decay, Bremsstrahlen, and the origin of molecular chirality

  • William A. Bonner
  • Yi Liang

DOI: 10.1007/BF02100632

Cite this article as:
Bonner, W.A. & Liang, Y. J Mol Evol (1984) 21: 84. doi:10.1007/BF02100632


A brief review is presented of the Vester-Ulbricht β-decay Bremsstrahlen hypothesis for the origin of optical activity, and of subsequent experiments designed to test it. Certain of our experiments along these lines, begun in 1974 and involving the irradiation of racemic and optically active amino acids in a 61.7 KCi90Sr−90Y Bremsstrahlen source, have now been completed and are described. After 10.89 years of irradiation with a total Bremsstrahlen dose of 2.5×109 rads, crystallinedl-leucine, norleucine, and norvaline suffered 47.2, 33.6, and 27.4% radiolysis, respectively, but showed no evidence whatsoever of asymmetric degradation.d- andl-Leucine underwent about 48% radiolysis and showed 2.4–2.9% radioracemization. Other samples in solution were too severely degraded to analyze. Probable intrinsic reasons for the failure of the Vester-Ulbricht mechanism to afford asymmetric radiolysis in the present and related experiments involving β-decay Bremsstrahlen are enumerated.

Key words

Parity violation β-Decay Asymmetric radiolysis Optical activity Vester-Ulbricht hypothesis 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • William A. Bonner
    • 1
  • Yi Liang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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