Quantum optical rotatory dispersion

Author(s): N. Tischler, M. Krenn, R. Fickler, X. Vidal, A. Zeilinger, G. Molina-Terriza

Journal: Science Advances

Volume: 2

Page(s): e1601306

Year: 2016

DOI Number: 10.1126/sciadv.1601306

Link: Link to publication


The phenomenon of molecular optical activity manifests itself as the rotation of the plane of linear polarization when light passes through chiral media. Measurements of optical activity and its wavelength dependence, that is, optical rotatory dispersion, can reveal information about intricate properties of molecules, such as the three-dimensional arrangement of atoms comprising a molecule. Given a limited probe power, quantum metrology offers the possibility of outperforming classical measurements. This has particular appeal when samples may be damaged by high power, which is a potential concern for chiroptical studies. We present the first experiment in which multiwavelength polarization-entangled photon pairs are used to measure the optical activity and optical rotatory dispersion exhibited by a solution of chiral molecules. Our work paves the way for quantum-enhanced measurements of chirality, with potential applications in chemistry, biology, materials science, and the pharmaceutical industry. The scheme that we use for probing wavelength dependence not only allows one to surpass the information extracted per photon in a classical measurement but also can be used for more general differential measurements.

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