I’ll confess that most of the theoretical methods are beyond me, but I found the premise of a recently published paper in Angewandte Int. Ed. intriguing.
Based on experiment and theory David Beratan (Duke University) shows that with certain chiral molecules the solvent directly contributes to the observed Optical Rotation (OR) of the solute. They propose that the solvent sorrounding the chiral molecule creates a chiral shell, or in their words a “chiral imprint” and as such is capabable to exhibit an OR by itself if the solvent molecules interact with the polarized light.
If true I think this finding has broader implications since it might be useful in the development of more accurate solvation models. For instance the results are not predicted by continuum solvent models.
Another interesting question is to what extent might the solvent shell contribute to the outcome of stereoselective reactions?