Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres

, 40:41

Amplification of Chirality at Solid Surfaces


DOI: 10.1007/s11084-009-9185-2

Cite this article as:
Ernst, KH. Orig Life Evol Biosph (2010) 40: 41. doi:10.1007/s11084-009-9185-2


Symmetry-breaking phenomena in two-dimensional crystallization at surfaces are reviewed and the potential impact to chiral amplification in three-dimensional systems in connection with the origin of homochirality in the biomolecular world is discussed. Adsorption of prochiral molecules leads to two-dimensional conglomerates, i.e., on a local scale spontaneously to homochiral crystal structures. Small enantiomeric excess or chiral impurities in this environment install homochirality on a global scale, that is, on the entire surface.


Chiral amplificationConglomeratesScanning tunneling microscopySurface crystallography 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Molecular Surface ScienceEmpa—Swiss Materials Testing and Research LaboratoriesDübendorfSwitzerland