Research ArticleQUANTUM PHYSICS

Quantum optical rotatory dispersion

Science Advances  05 Oct 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 10, e1601306
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601306

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Abstract

The phenomenon of molecular optical activity manifests itself as the rotation of the plane of linear polarization when light passes through chiral media. Measurements of optical activity and its wavelength dependence, that is, optical rotatory dispersion, can reveal information about intricate properties of molecules, such as the three-dimensional arrangement of atoms comprising a molecule. Given a limited probe power, quantum metrology offers the possibility of outperforming classical measurements. This has particular appeal when samples may be damaged by high power, which is a potential concern for chiroptical studies. We present the first experiment in which multiwavelength polarization-entangled photon pairs are used to measure the optical activity and optical rotatory dispersion exhibited by a solution of chiral molecules. Our work paves the way for quantum-enhanced measurements of chirality, with potential applications in chemistry, biology, materials science, and the pharmaceutical industry. The scheme that we use for probing wavelength dependence not only allows one to surpass the information extracted per photon in a classical measurement but also can be used for more general differential measurements.

Keywords
  • quantum metrology
  • entangled photons
  • optical activity
  • optical rotatory dispersion
  • chirality

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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