Chiral Nanomaterials

One of the rapidly expanding fields of nanoscience and technology is chiral inorganic nanostructures. The interest to this type of biomimetic nanomaterials was spurred by the unusually strong circular dichroism (CD) observed for individual nanoparticles and their assemblies. For example, plasmonic inorganic nanoassemblies reveal CD intensities exceeding those for protein complexes by at least an order of the magnitude. Intense chiroptical phenomena in chiral nanomaterials originate from strong light-matter interactions with highly polarizable inorganic matter. While being technologically relevant for biosensing and optoelectronics, the fundamental significance of and broad interest to chiral nanomaterials are predicated upon overarching importance of chirality to chemistry, physics, biology, mechanics, and astronomy.   

This group has been working both on experiment and theory of chiral nanostructures. Multiple chiral geometries were synthesized with characteristic scales from Ångströms to millimeters. Besides the traditional chirality transfer from organic molecules, novel developments in this field are represented by the light-induced mirror asymmetry in nanoassemblies. The asymmetric photosynthesis of nanoscale enantiomers by illumination of nanoparticles with circularly polarized photons provides impurity-free control of chirality of nanoscale structures. The demonstration of light-to-matter chirality transfer is essential for understanding the origin of Earth’s homochirality and scalable laser-induced assembly of metamaterials for polarization-based optoelectronics. Cyclic actuation of chiroplasmonic nanostructures by circularly polarized photons enables controlled differentiation of stem cells.

Novel developments in this field are represented by the light-induced mirror asymmetry in nanoassemblies. The asymmetric photosynthesis of nanoscale enantiomers by illumination of nanoparticles with circularly polarized photons provides impurity-free control of chirality of nanoscale structures. The demonstration of light-to-matter chirality transfer is essential for understanding the origin of Earth’s homochirality and scalable laser-induced assembly of metamaterials for polarization-based optoelectronics.

Currently we are working on the following questions:

How can chiral inorganic nanostructures advance practice and theory of chiral catalysis?

How can Graph Theory methods and chiral graphs be utilized for multiscale self-assembly of biomimetic nanostructures?

How to realize and utilize strong CD of chiral nanomaterials in new spectral ranges, such as terahertz waves?

The strong theoretical component of these projects is essential for better understanding of the relationship between multiscale chirality of nanostructures and potential applications. Applied mathematics of chirality being developed in this group also enables facile implementation of artificial intelligence and data science methods for their property-optimized synthesis of chiral and complex nanomaterials.