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Determination of the Absolute Chirality of Adsorbed Molecules


  • This work was supported by grants from the Schweizerischer Nationalfonds and the Board of the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Rat). The experiments were performed at the Swiss Light Source, Paul Scherrer Institute, Villigen (Switzerland).


original image

Intramolecular “electron lamp” throws bright shadows: Angle-scanned X-ray photoelectron diffraction (XPD) allows the absolute configuration of adsorbed molecules to be determined in a straightforward way. Owing to intramolecular scattering, the C 1s XPD pattern of tartaric acid adsorbed on Cu(110) (see picture; Cu brown, C blue, O red) has pronounced forward-focusing maxima that directly yield the absolute molecular conformation without the need for complex calculations.