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Proceedings Paper

On the viability of achieving chiral separation through the optical manipulation of molecules
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Paper Abstract

Several different optical methods have recently been proposed for the potential separation of chiral molecules according to their intrinsic handedness. Applying fundamental symmetry and electrodynamical principles provides a perspective that casts doubt over the viability of some of the more extravagant claims. However there is a genuine basis for achieving chiral separation by using circularly polarized light to deliver chirally sensitive optical forces. The mechanism comes into play when molecules (or nanoscale particles) are optically trapped in a laser beam by forward Rayleigh scattering, as a result of trapping forces that depend on positioning within the beam profile. In such a setup, chiral molecules experience subtle additional forces associated with a combination of electric and magnetic transition dipoles; when circularly polarized light is used for the trapping, a discriminatory response can be identified that has the capacity to separate left- and righthanded molecular isomers. Here, clear differences can be observed between the behavior of isotropic liquids and poled solutions or liquid crystals. Detailed analysis provides an objective basis to assess new prospects for the recognition and differentiation of molecules with opposite chiral form, identifying and paving the way for future commercial applications.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 March 2015
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 9379, Complex Light and Optical Forces IX, 93790Q (10 March 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2076041
Show Author Affiliations
David L. Andrews, Univ. of East Anglia (United Kingdom)
David S. Bradshaw, Univ. of East Anglia (United Kingdom)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9379:
Complex Light and Optical Forces IX
Enrique J. Galvez; Jesper Glückstad; David L. Andrews, Editor(s)

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