Numerical simulations based on a truncated Becker-Döring microreversible network elucidate the phenomenon of symmetry breaking in Viedma deracemizations. Considering primary nucleation, crystal growth, dissolution, and attrition, the model successfully reproduces experimental data and provides evidence for true spontaneous mirror symmetry breaking. Furthermore, it predicts a grinding intensity window within which a minimum deracemization time exists.
Attrition-enhanced chiral symmetry breaking in crystals, known as Viedma deracemization, is a promising method for converting racemic solid phases into enantiomerically pure ones under non-equilibrium conditions. However, many aspects of this process remain unclear. In this study, we present a new investigation into Viedma deracemization using a comprehensive kinetic rate equation continuous model based on classical primary nucleation theory, crystal growth, and Ostwald ripening. Our approach employs a fully microreversible kinetic scheme with a size-dependent solubility following the Gibbs–Thomson rule. To validate our model, we use data from a real NaClO3 deracemization experiment. After parametrization, the model shows spontaneous mirror symmetry breaking (SMSB) under grinding. Additionally, we identify a bifurcation scenario with a lower and upper limit of the grinding intensity that leads to deracemization, including a minimum deracemization time within this window. Furthermore, this model uncovers that SMSB is caused by multiple instances of concealed high-order autocatalysis. Our findings provide new insights into attrition-enhanced deracemization and its potential applications in chiral molecule synthesis and understanding biological homochirality.Zum Volltext