Research Papers in Physics and Astronomy
Date of this Version
XXIX International Conference on Photonic, Electronic, and Atomic Collisions (ICPEAC2015), Journal of Physics: Conference Series 635 (2015) 012015
All molecular forms of life have chemically-specific handedness. However, the origin of these asymmetries is not understood. A possible explanation was suggested by Vester and Ulbricht immediately following the discovery of parity violation in 1957: chiral beta radiation in cosmic rays may have preferentially destroyed one enantiomeric form of various biological precursors. In the experiments reported here, we observed chiral specificity in two electronmolecule interactions: quasi-elastic scattering and dissociative electron attachment. Using lowenergy longitudinally spin-polarized (chiral) electrons as substitutes for beta rays, we found that chiral bromocamphor molecules exhibited both a transmission and dissociative electron attachment rate that depended on their handedness for a given direction of incident electron spin. Consequently, these results, especially those with dissociative electron attachment, connect the universal chiral asymmetry of the weak force with a molecular breakup process, thereby demonstrating the viability of the Vester-Ulbricht hypothesis.
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