Electron transfer processes which generate radical pairs in coherent electron spin states (singlet or triplet) are affected by weak magnetic fields [Schulten et al, Z. physik. Chem. Neue Folge 101 (1976) 371]. Based on this finding we suggest a reaction mechanism for a chemical compass which exhibits a sensitivity on the orientation of the geomagnetic field originating from an anisotropy of the hyperfine interaction experienced by unpaired electron spins in a redox process. It is argued that such mechanism may explain the ability of many biological species to orient themselves inthe geomagnetic field.
- Electron spin states
- Hyperfine interaction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry