Chiral Crystals, Jack, Conductivity and Magnetism

Bart Kahr, Yongfan Yang, St John Whittaker, Alexander G. Shtukenberg, Stephanie Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recently, the application of magnetic fields to chiral chemical systems has been rewarding. In a forward-looking 1986 paper, ‘Chiral Metals?’, Wallis, Karrer, and Jack D. Dunitz forecast ‘that the limitation to proper symmetry elements in a chiral conductor could be associated with the emergence of new properties, those connected with interactions between applied electric and magnetic fields and their internal counterparts.’ This was a prescient remark, but it has become manifest in ways that would not have been foreseen in its details by the authors. Here are reviewed the development of chiral conductors broadly imagined by Dunitz and coworkers, based on enantiopure tetrathiafulvalene derivatives that restrict space groups to those that have only symmetry operations of the first kind, as well as the new emergent properties associated with the transport of electrons when magnetic fields are applied to chiral crystals among other systems. These include electrical magnetochiral anisotropy (eMChA), inverse electrical magnetochiral anisotropy (ieMChA), helimagnetism and chirality induced spin selectivity (CISS). The conclusion discussing the circumstances under which achiral TTF crystals becomes chiral, only seems to introduce an oxymoron.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere202200202
JournalHelvetica Chimica Acta
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023


  • CISS effect
  • chirality
  • helimagnetism
  • magnetic field
  • magnetochiral anisotropy
  • spin polarization
  • twisted crystals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Biochemistry
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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