Volume 80, Number 2, October 2007
Article Number 28001
Number of page(s) 6
Section Interdisciplinary Physics and Related Areas of Science and Technology
Published online 12 September 2007
EPL, 80 (2007) 28001
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/80/28001

Fluctuation-induced chiral symmetry breaking in autocatalytic reaction-diffusion systems

V. S. Gayathri1, 2, 3 and M. Rao2, 3

1  SASTRA University - Thanjavur 613402, India
2  Raman Research Institute - Bangalore 560080, India
3  National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Bangalore 560065, India

received 21 April 2007; accepted in final form 23 August 2007; published October 2007
published online 12 September 2007

We show how spatiotemporal fluctuations can induce spontaneous symmetry breaking in systems which are perfectly symmetric in the absence of fluctuations. We illustrate this in the context of the autocatalytic production of chiral enantiomers from achiral reactants in reaction-diffusion systems. The mean-field steady state is chiral symmetric; spatiotemporal fluctuations induce global and complete chiral ordering with sharp phase transitions including re-entrance. We find that advective mass transport enhances the tendency to break chiral symmetry. We discuss the relation between our study and recent experiments demonstrating complete chiral symmetry breaking (CSB), and its implications to the emergence of molecular homochirality.

87.15.Ya - Fluctuations.

© Europhysics Letters Association 2007