Research ArticlePHYSICS

Enantioselective fragmentation of an achiral molecule in a strong laser field

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  08 Mar 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 3, eaau7923
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau7923

Abstract

Chirality is omnipresent in living nature. On the single molecule level, the response of a chiral species to a chiral probe depends on their respective handedness. A prominent example is the difference in the interaction of a chiral molecule with left or right circularly polarized light. In the present study, we show by Coulomb explosion imaging that circularly polarized light can also induce a chiral fragmentation of a planar and thus achiral molecule. The observed enantiomer strongly depends on the orientation of the molecule with respect to the light propagation direction and the helicity of the ionizing light. This finding might trigger new approaches to improve laser-driven enantioselective chemical synthesis.

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.

View Full Text