Many phenomena in nature, including multiple chemical and biological processes, are governed by the fundamental property of chirality. An object is called chiral when its mirror image cannot be superimposed with the original object. Many examples of chirality can be found in nature, from seashells to DNA molecules.
Optics offers ways to study chirality at the tiniest scale as beams of light with left and right circular polarization may interact differently with chiral objects. This forms the foundation of circular dichroism spectroscopy among other powerful optical diagnostics tools.
In natural materials, optical chiral effects are usually very weak. However, chirality can be enhanced dramatically by engineering materials at the nanometer-scale. This research project will include design, fabrication, and optical diagnostics of nanostructured materials with enhanced optical chirality. Engineered chiral nano-materials are envisioned to find their applications in optical sensing of molecules bringing multifold enhancement in sensitivity.
Students joining the project can be involved in the following lines of investigation:
- Analytical and numerical modelling
- Optical experiments