It is not always easy to distinguish between images and mirror images of molecules, but this knowledge is important when one image of a molecule is a drug and the mirror image is toxic. One new approach to this may be chiral recognition in the gas phase.
This involves using synchrotron radiation (highly energetic photons from a particle accelerator) to eject electrons from the molecules and analyzing their trajectories. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, German researchers have now demonstrated that such experiments also work with a compact laser system.
The trick is to replace the individual high-energy photon with three laser photons that excite the molecule through intermediate levels until it releases an electron (this method is known as REMPI, Resonance-Enhanced Multi-Photon Ionization). “It is thus possible to eject electrons with less energetic but more intense light,” explains Thomas Baumert of the University of Kassel.
For the measurements, the light must be circularly polarized. What does this mean? “Ordinary” light consists of waves that oscillate in all spatial directions perpendicular to their direction of travel. If light is linearly polarized, the light waves oscillate exclusively in one plane. When light is circularly polarized, the light wave oscillates in a helical form, because its amplitude describes a circle around the axis of travel – either to the right or the left.
Molecules in the gas phase are randomly oriented and thus encounter the laser light from all possible angles; the ejected electrons also fly off in every possible direction as they leave the molecule. By using both a special configuration for measurement and special calculation processes, the team is able to determine the distribution of the angles of the electrons’ flight paths. In the case of linearly polarized light, the distribution is symmetrical.
“However, when the electrons are ejected by circularly polarized light, we find a distinct asymmetry to the angles at which the free electrons are found in relation to the laser beam,” reports Baumert. “This asymmetry is inverted if left circularly polarized light is used instead of right, an effect known as photoelectron circular dichroism. We observe the same effect when we keep the circular polarization the same but change from the “right handed” to the “left handed” structure of the chiral molecule being observed.”
The researchers were able to demonstrate this with the chiral compounds camphor and fenchone.
“This circular dichroism effect has previously only been observed with synchrotron radiation. In contrast, our procedure uses a compact laser system, so that this method is not limited to basic laboratory research but, because of the magnitude of the observed effects, may also find its way into analysis,” according to Baumert.About the Author
Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201109035
Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences