Topics in Catalysis

, Volume 48, Issue 1–4, pp 128–136 | Cite as

The Chemistry of Intrinsically Chiral Surfaces

Original Paper


Intrinsically chiral metal and mineral surfaces show enantioselective behaviour without modifiers. Examples are artificial high-Miller-index surfaces of metal single crystals with cubic bulk lattice symmetry, which have no mirror planes and are therefore chiral, or surfaces of naturally occurring crystallites of some common minerals, such as α-quartz or calcite. Recent findings with regards to the surface geometry, reactivity and thermal stability of intrinsically chiral surfaces are discussed. A number of enantioselective effects have been reported in connection with the adsorption of small chiral molecules (e.g. alanine, cysteine) on intrinsically chiral surfaces under well-defined conditions. From a combination of experimental surface science techniques and theoretical ab initio model calculations it emerges that these effects are due to a combination of attractive and repulsive adsorbate-substrate and inter–adsorbate interactions.


Enantioselective effects Model calculations 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of ReadingReadingUK
  2. 2.School of Mathematical and Physical SciencesUniversity of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia

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