We study the electronic mechanisms underlying the induction and propagation of chirality in achiral molecules deposited on surfaces. Combined scanning tunneling microscopy and ab initio electronic structure calculations of Cu-phthalocyanines adsorbed on Ag(100) reveal the formation of chiral molecular orbitals in structurally undistorted molecules. This effect shows that chirality can be manifest exclusively at the electronic level due to asymmetric charge transfer between molecules and substrate. Single molecule chirality correlates with attractive van der Waals interactions, leading to the propagation of chirality at the supramolecular level. Ostwald ripening provides an efficient pathway for complete symmetry breaking and self-assembly of homochiral supramolecular layers. © 2010 The American Physical Society.
|Journal||Physical Review Letters|
|Publication status||Published - 10 Sep 2010|