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Magnetism & chirality unveiled

The exotic phenomenon of magnetochiral dichroism is studied and the key role played by spin-orbit coupling unveiled

Thanks to a collaboration between our laboratory and the Laboratoire National des Champs Magnétiques Intenses in Grenoble, involving our former postdoc  Matteo Atzori now in Grenoble,  a strong magnetochiral dichroism  MχD has been detected in a molecular helix comprising Mn<sup>III </sup>ions.

MχD is an exotic non-reciprocal effect that, in contrast to all other dichroisms, involves non polarized light. It occurs when magnetism and chirality are combined in the same material. It is usually very weak and clear strategies to enhance it are still lacking. It has also been proposed as a possible origin of the homochirality of life on earth. In this article in press on the Journal of the American Chemical Society we show a strong MχD effect, one order of magnitude stronger than previously reported. More importantly, we evidence a clear correlation between the sign and intensity of the effct and the spin-orbit contribution associated to the electronic transition responsible of the absorption of light.

More details are available at

31 July 2020
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