Issue
EPL
Volume 82, Number 1, April 2008
Article Number 13002
Number of page(s) 5
Section Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1209/0295-5075/82/13002
Published online 05 March 2008
EPL, 82 (2008) 13002
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/82/13002

Could dark matter or neutrinos discriminate between the enantiomers of a chiral molecule?

P. Bargueño1, 2, A. Dobado3 and I. Gonzalo4

1  Instituto de Matemáticas y Física Fundamental (CSIC) - Serrano 123, 20006 Madrid, Spain, EU
2  Departamento de Química Física, Universidad de Salamanca - 37008 Salamanca, Spain, EU
3  Departamento de Física Teórica I, Universidad Complutense de Madrid - 28040 Madrid, Spain, EU
4  Departamento de Óptica, Universidad Complutense de Madrid - 28040 Madrid, Spain, EU

pbdr@imaff.cfmac.csic.es

received 10 December 2007; accepted in final form 4 February 2008; published April 2008
published online 5 March 2008

Abstract
We examine the effect of cold dark matter on the discrimination between the two enantiomers of a chiral molecule. We estimate the energy difference between the two enantiomers due to the interaction between fermionic WIMPs (weak interacting massive particles) and molecular electrons on the basis that electrons have opposite helicities in opposite enantiomers. It is found that this energy difference is completely negligible. Dark matter could then be discarded as an inductor of chiroselection between enantiomers and then of biological homochirality. However, the effect of cosmological neutrinos, revisited with the currently accepted neutrino density, would reach, in the most favorable case, an upper bound of the same order of magnitude as the energy difference obtained from the well-known electroweak electron-nucleus interaction in some molecules.

PACS
33.15.Bh - General molecular conformation and symmetry; stereochemistry.
13.15.+g - Neutrino interactions.
95.35.+d - Dark matter (stellar, interstellar, galactic, and cosmological).

© EPLA 2008