Probability Distribution of Enantiomorphous Forms in Spontaneous Generation of Optically Active Substances

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Science  03 Dec 1971:
Vol. 174, Issue 4013, pp. 1018-1020
DOI: 10.1126/science.174.4013.1018


The crystallization of 1, l'—binaphthyl from its racemic melt is an example of spontaneous generation of optical activity. The distribution of specific rotations in 200 individual samples varied from [α]D = —218 degrees to [α]D = +206 degrees with a mean of +0.14 degree and standard deviation of 86.4 degrees. This resolution into enantiomers is determined by chance development, with equal probability, of right- or left-handed crystallites; it can be controlled and made stereospecific by addition of dissymmetric compounds at low concentrations.