Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


Plot twist in the iron spin saga

Over the past 25 years, the photo-induced spin-crossover behaviour of Fe(II) complexes has puzzled scientists. Now, a symmetry-breaking twisting mode has been observed during the relaxation of such a complex. Controlling its configuration using enantiopure counterions has also been shown to slow down the relaxation.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: The Ray–Dutt twist involved in the racemization of [FeII(dm-bpy)3]2+ (dm-bpy = 4,4′-dimethyl-2,2′-bipyridine).
Fig. 2: Schematic representation of the extracted time-resolved circular dichroism spectra of the high-spin state.


  1. McCusker, J. K. Acc. Chem. Res. 36, 876–887 (2003).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Auböck, G. & Chergui, M. Nat. Chem. 7, 629–633 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Chergui, M. & Collet, E. Chem. Rev. 117, 11025–11065 (2017).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Gaffney, K. J. Chem. Sci. 12, 8010–8025 (2021).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Oppermann, M., Zinna, F., Lacour, J. & Chergui, M. Nat. Chem. (2022).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Oppermann, M. et al. Optica 6, 56–60 (2019).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Purcell, K. F. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 101, 5147–5152 (1979).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Vanquickenborne, L. G. & Pierloot, K. Inorg. Chem. 20, 3673–3677 (1981).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. McCusker, J. K., Rheingold, A. L. & Hendrickson, D. N. Inorg. Chem. 35, 2100–2112 (1996).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to J. Olof Johansson.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The author declares no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Johansson, J.O. Plot twist in the iron spin saga. Nat. Chem. 14, 722–723 (2022).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing