Chirality is fundamental to many physical, chemical, and biological systems, impacting processes as diverse as pharmaceutical-cell interactions to the evolution of species. Measuring molecular chirality is especially important to synthesize chiral compounds, study enzymatic interactions, and understand dynamic protein folding and DNA hybridization. Current methods to measure molecular chirality rely on ensemble techniques such as circular dichroism spectroscopy. However, these techniques require large analyte concentrations and relatively long integration times. Measuring molecular chirality at the few-to-single molecule level and in real time remains an outstanding challenge.
In this talk, I will discuss how light can be sculpted with engineered nanostructures to enhance chiral light-matter interactions. With these nanostructures, we have developed metamaterial biosensors and optical force nanoscopes to detect and visualize molecular chirality with high sensitivity and resolution. Beyond molecular sensing, I will also introduce using the concept of metamaterials for selective biomedical imaging.
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