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Optical activity of molecules with rotational chirality: Theoretical study of the novel effect


A novel effect of optical activity of highly rotationally excited non-chiral molecules has been proposed in 2004 by Bunker and Jensen (P.R. Bunker, P.Jensen J. Mol. Spec., 228 (2004) 640), where some symmetric, asymmetric, and spherical type molecules in the states can be stabilized by high rotational excitation and become rotationally chiral. They predicted that enantiomers characterized by the so-called rotational chirality will rotate the plane-polarized light, i.e. become optically active. Although this idea has the potential to give birth to a new paradigm of optical control devices and to stimulate new fruitful developments in quantum optics and material science, it passed unnoticed by the scientific community.
In the current project we aim to bridge this gap and present the first theoretical study of the optical activity of rotationally chiral molecules. This study will provide theoretical for future experiments and potential technological applications. To this end a new method will be developed for accurate solution of the quantum nuclear-motion problem for small and medium-sized molecules in the presence of external electromagnetic fields with different polarizations, which still represents a challenge even for small molecules. This method will be applied to simulate the optical activity of molecules in rotationally chiral states and will be generally important for a wide range of applications including materials science, optics and communications, and medicine. It will open the doors for a new type of optical control of molecules by moderate external field.

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UCL Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Institute for Women’s Health
Gower Street
WC1E 6BT London
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 231 283,20
Administrative Contact
Giles Machell (Mr.)