Will applying an external electric field to a racemic mixture will convert the optically active compound(mixture of both Dextro and laevo-rotatory) into a particular dextro or laevo-rotatory compound? I thought that if I apply an external field, then all the chiral molecules will arrange in a particular direction i.e their spatial arrangement in the solution aligns in a specific direction, resulting in a particular dextro or laevo-rotatory compound. Is my thinking right or I am misunderstanding the topic?

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    $\begingroup$ You are misunderstanding the topic. Electric field isn't chiral, hence the result of its action isn't either. $\endgroup$ May 15, 2018 at 12:46
  • $\begingroup$ @IvanNeretin it can be, for instance circularly polarized light has chirality. $\endgroup$
    – Tyberius
    May 15, 2018 at 14:12
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    $\begingroup$ This question is unclear as written because "arrange" is not well-defined enough. What do you mean to say that they arrange? Are you inverting centers? Are you causing reactions? $\endgroup$
    – Zhe
    May 15, 2018 at 15:45
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    $\begingroup$ @Tyberius Electric field is a vector; how can it be chiral? Well, it kinda can, if you would rotate it with high frequency, at the same time moving pretty fast through the media (that's what light does, after all). But that would be an awfully broad interpretation of the words "apply an external field". $\endgroup$ May 15, 2018 at 16:10
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    $\begingroup$ @Zhe They are just two enantiomers of each other. Do even the $(\pm)$ enantiomers react with each other? Also, the OP has said "their spatial arrangement in the solution aligns in a specific direction". What more clarity is required? $\endgroup$ May 15, 2018 at 16:37


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