Measuring the symmetry breaking in chiral molecules
In our lab we are trying to measure tiny structural differences that supposedly exist between Left and Right handed molecules arising from the nuclear weak force. This difference may be responsible for why we find all naturally formed sugars to be exclusively right-handed as well as fascinating implications on the quantum dynamics of chiral molecules.
Methods for pristine quantum control of the internal and external molecular degrees of freedom are investigated as part of the experiment. We develop technology towards this end as well as quantum control tools to help distinguish between Left and Right handed molecules. We focus on creating tools that provide a precise measurement that rejects ambient effects from the surroundings to probe the symmetry breaking in chiral molecules for the first time. Our method will use trapped chiral molecular ions where the asymmetry is predicted to be enhanced and provides long interrogation times.
There are multiple experimental projects available for the summer camp participants in our group including electronics design, molecular spectroscopy of various types, laser interferometry, and simulation, etc.
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