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Keywords:

  • chirality;
  • liquid crystals;
  • scanning tunneling microscopy;
  • symmetry
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

The formation of chiral structures from achiral or racemic components is of great interest because of its implications, for example, for the origin of biological chirality. Monolayers of racemic molecules can form chiral structures, but the precise origin of these structures has been unclear. Images of both enantiomers (that of the (S) enantiomer is shown on the right) and the racemate of a liquid crystal obtained by scanning tunneling microscopy present strong evidence that the racemate forms domains of enantiomerically pure molecules.