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Subject: Electron Circular Dichroism and the Origin of Life On Earth
Speaker:    Timothy Gay
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nebraska
Date: Thursday, August 25, 2016
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Place: CEBAF Center Auditorium
Abstract:We have bombarded chiral halocamphor molecules in the gas phase with low-energy (< 1 eV), longitudinally-spin-polarized electrons, and investigated dissociative electron attachment (DEA) reactions:
e- + HA → H- + A,
where H is a halogen atom (Br or I) and A is the residual camphor fragment. We observe that for a given target handedness, the total DEA cross section depends on the helicity of the incident electron. In the case of iodocamphor at the lowest incident electron energies, this effect can be as large as two parts in 1000. The observation of chiral sensitivity in a break-up reaction is important because, among other things, it validates the premise of the Vester-Ulbricht hypothesis regarding the origins of biological homochirality. The sordid history of previous attempts to demonstrate such effects will be briefly reviewed.


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