The secret of the interaction of light with matter has been revealed
Until now, the understanding of light-matter interactions was mainly based on the propagation of uniformly polarized light and the dominance of dipole transitions between different quantum states of matter. For nearly 20 years, the scientific world believed that it was impossible to distinguish between enantiomers (pairs of non-superimposable chemical molecules that are mirror images of each other) of a chiral molecule using spiral beams of light. Today, however, that has changed.
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A team led by Professor Ravi Bhardwaj has developed a new technique to distinguish two non-mirror chiral molecules. Its effectiveness can be scaled and controlled through the use of linearly polarized spiral light beams, but since this is only the discovery of something that “can”, from now on, increasingly effective techniques for distinguishing such chemical particles are sure to be developed .
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The main findings of scientists from the University of Ottawa show, among other things, that the enhanced chiral sensitivity can be observed directly using linearly polarized spiral light beams without any intermediary.
Differential absorption of left-handed and right-handed helical light can be observed even in achiral molecules that can be scaled and precisely controlled. Helicity-dependent light absorption arises from the coupling of electric dipole moments and electric quadrupole moments and can be tuned by changing the polarization of the laser.
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In addition, in a study published in Nature Photonics, we read that the detection of enantiomers with increased sensitivity is needed in the pharmaceutical industry to eliminate unwanted side effects of drugs. The discovery is also said to open up new possibilities in spectroscopy, light-driven molecular machines, optical switching and ultra-fast probing of magnetic materials