Probing molecular chirality on a sub-femtosecond timescale

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1038/nphys3369
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TypeArticle
Journal titleNature Physics
ISSN1745-2473
1745-2481
Volume11
Issue8
Pages654658
Subjectchemical physics; high-harmonic generation; ultrafast photonics
AbstractChiral molecules that are non-superimposable mirror images of each other, known as enantiomers, have identical chemical and physical properties unless they interact with another chiral entity, such as chiral light. Chiroptical effects arising from such interactions are used to detect enantiomers in mixtures and to induce enantioselective synthesis and catalysis. Chiroptical effects often arise from the interplay between light-induced electric- and magnetic-dipole transitions in a molecule and evolve on ultrafast electronic timescales. Here we use high-harmonic generation from a randomly oriented gas of molecules subjected to an intense laser field, to probe chiral interactions on these sub-femtosecond timescales. We show that a slight disparity in the laser-driven electron dynamics in the two enantiomers is recorded and amplified by several orders of magnitude in the harmonic spectra. Our work shows that chiroptical detection can go beyond detecting chiral structure to resolving and controlling chiral dynamics on electronic timescales.
Publication date
PublisherNature Publishing Group
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationSecurity and Disruptive Technologies; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number23001586
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Record identifier9ad9977e-44c7-417b-8cee-7744bdb450cc
Record created2017-03-08
Record modified2017-03-08
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