Seminar A: ATTOSECOND PHYSICS
I will discuss our recent results on the experimental demonstration of enantioselective rotational control of chiral molecules with light. In our experiments, two enantiomers of propylene oxide are brought to accelerated unidirectional rotation by means of an optical centrifuge. Using Coulomb explosion imaging, we show that the centrifuged molecules acquire preferential orientation perpendicular to the plane of rotation, and that the direction of this orientation depends on the relative handedness of the enantiomer and the rotating centrifuge field. The observed effect is in full agreement with theoretical predictions, and the experimental results are well reproduced in numerical simulations of the centrifuge excitation followed by Coulomb explosion of the centrifuged molecules. The demonstrated technique opens new avenues in optical enantioselective control of chiral molecules with a plethora of potential applications to differentiation, separation and purification of chiral mixtures.