Chiral expression from molecular assemblies at metal surfaces: insights from surface science techniques

Chem Soc Rev. 2009 Mar;38(3):707-21. doi: 10.1039/b800411k. Epub 2009 Feb 2.


This tutorial review summarises the molecular and atomic-level insights on the nature of surface chirality that have recently been obtained from creating molecular monolayers at defined single crystal metal surfaces in ultra-high vacuum (UHV) conditions and studying them by the powerful techniques of surface science. A myriad of chiral expressions are outlined, from the nanoscale descriptions of single adsorbed chiral molecules (0D chirality), to 1D chiral line structures, small 2D chiral cluster formation, and finally, to macroscale 2D organised chiral adlayers. Homochiral self-recognition and diastereomeric chiral recognition events, probed at the single-molecule level, are also presented.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Metals / chemistry*
  • Microscopy, Scanning Tunneling
  • Molecular Structure
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared
  • Stereoisomerism*
  • Surface Properties


  • Metals