Comment on "spin-orbit interaction and spin selectivity for tunneling electron transfer in DNA"

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8 Scopus citations


The observation of chiral-induced spin selectivity (CISS) in biological molecules still awaits a full theoretical explanation. In a recent Rapid Communication, Varela et al. [Phys. Rev. B 101, 241410(R) (2020)2469-995010.1103/PhysRevB.101.241410] presented a model for electron transport in biological molecules by tunneling in the presence of spin-orbit interactions. They then claimed that their model produces a strong spin asymmetry due to the intrinsic atomic spin-orbit strength. As their Hamiltonian is time-reversal symmetric, this result contradicts a theorem by Bardarson [J. Phys. A: Math. Theor. 41, 405203 (2008)1751-811310.1088/1751-8113/41/40/405203], which states that such a Hamiltonian cannot generate a spin asymmetry for tunneling between two terminals (in which there are only a spin-up and a spin-down channel). Here we solve the model proposed by Varela et al. and show that it does not yield any spin asymmetry, and therefore cannot explain the observed CISS effect.

Original languageEnglish
Article number077401
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number7
StatePublished - 22 Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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