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

Ora Entin-Wohlman*, Amnon Aharony*, Yasuhiro Utsumi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 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


FundersFunder number
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science17K05575, 20H01827, 18KK0385
Israel Science Foundation
Ministry of Science and Technology, Israel3-11173
PAZY Foundation


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