Three-wave mixing spectroscopy of chiral molecules, which exist in left-handed and right-handed conformations, allows for enantioselective population transfer despite random orientation of the molecules. This is based on constructive interference of the three-photon pathways for one enantiomer and the destructive one for the other. We prove here that three mutually orthogonal polarization directions are required to this end. Two different dynamical regimes exist to realize enantioselective population transfer, and we show that they correspond to different phase conditions in the three-wave mixing. We find the excitation scheme used in current rotational three-wave mixing experiments of chiral molecules with C1 symmetry to be close to optimal and discuss the prospects for rovibrational three-wave mixing experiments of axially chiral molecules. Our comprehensive study allows us to clarify earlier misconceptions in the literature.

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