Chiral Nanomaterials and Chiral Light

Ventsislav K. Valev

Advances in nanofabrication are expanding opportunities to exploit and customize the “handedness” of materials—and of light itself.


figureNanomaterial with helix-type chiral geometry. [Ventsislav K. Valev]

From spiral galaxies and hurricanes to seashells and amino acids, natural systems exhibit a sense of twist known as chirality (from the Greek cheir, meaning “hand”). A pair of chiral objects constitute mirror images that cannot be superimposed on each other, like the left and right hand—and, indeed, an object is said to have left-handed or right-handed chirality, depending on its sense of twist.

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