Chirality-based Spintronics

    Why life is chiral has puzzled scientists for well over a century. Many essential biological molecules exist only in one of two possible mirror-image enantiomers, like L-amino acid and D-sugar. But the origin of this single-handedness (namely homochirality) has not been unravelled. The “conventional wisdom” is that chirality serves as a structural motif to place chemical functionalities in defined positions and orientations that enable biologically relevant functions. The recently discovered chiral-induced spin selectivity (CISS) effect implies that chiral molecules (or moieties) have a preferred orientation of the electron spin in the molecular frame after charge polarization. This has incredibly interesting applications since it gives us a new tool to control spins at the molecular level and room temperature. Our research focuses on 1) exploring the fundamental mechanisms of this effect underpinning experimental observations, with a particular focus on the interaction of chiral molecules and electron spin at different scales; 2) exploring strategies for the enhancement of spin polarization, which is one of the most important issues in developing spintronics materials. The long-term goals are to aid our understanding of the chirality-based spin transport at different scales and reveal principles about how to design and assemble functional artificial systems for spintronics applications.

Representative publications

1. Yutao Sang, Qirong Zhu, Xiaoqin Zhou, Yuqian Jiang, Li Zhang*, Minghua Liu*, Ultrasound directed symmetry breaking and spin filtering of supramolecular assemblies from only achiral building blocks. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2023, 62, e202215867.

2. Yutao Sang, Francesco Tassinari, Kakali Santra, Wenyan Zhang, Claudio Fontanesi, Brian P. Bloom, David H. Waldeck, Jonas Fransson, and Ron Naaman*. Chirality enhances oxygen reduction. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A., 2022, 119, e2202650119.

3. Yutao Sang, Suryakant Mishra, Francesco Tassinari, Senthil Kumar Karuppannan, Raanan Carmieli, Ruijie D. Teo, Agostino Migliore, David N. Beratan, Harry B. Gray, Israel Pecht, Jonas Fransson, David H. Waldeck, Ron Naaman*, Temperature Dependence of Charge and Spin Transfer in Azurin. J. Phys. Chem. C, 2021, 125, 9875−9883.

4. Anu Gupta, Yutao Sang, Claudio Fontanesi*, Luca Turin*, and Ron Naaman*. Effect of Anesthesia Gases on the Oxygen Reduction Reaction. J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2023, 14, 1756–1761.

5. Debkumar Bhowmick, Yutao Sang, Kakali Santra, Maximilian Halbauer, Eyal Capua, Yossi Paltiel, Ron Naaman, and Francesco Tassinari*. Simultaneous High-Purity Enantiomeric Resolution of Conglomerates Using Magnetic Substrates. Cryst. Growth Des. 2021, 21, 2925–2931.