Research Article

Attosecond-resolved photoionization of chiral molecules

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Science  08 Dec 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6368, pp. 1288-1294
DOI: 10.1126/science.aao5624

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Clocking departures from chiral origins

Just as the atoms in a molecule can be arranged in a left- or right-handed manner, the field in a beam of light can circulate like a left- or right-handed corkscrew. Matches or mismatches in this mutual handedness give rise to an asymmetric distribution of trajectories as electrons are ejected during photoionization. Beaulieu et al. used an interferometric approach to uncover the temporal dynamics associated with this asymmetry. They probed the mirror-image isomers of camphor with circularly polarized light, which revealed the angle-dependent delays between trajectories that spanned up to 24 attoseconds.

Science, this issue p. 1288