Simulating strong field control of axial chirality using optimal control theory

Shane M. Parker, Mark A. Ratner, Tamar Seideman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


We propose a strong-field based method to control the chirality of molecules that exhibit torsion, illustrating the possibility of converting a racemate into a pure enantiomer at elevated temperatures. Optimal control theory is applied to design a laser pulse that will maximize the enantiomeric ratio achieved, considering both the case of a fixed, linear polarization and the case of a tunable polarization. Our simulations show the possibility of converting 99% and 99.5% of the population into a desired enantiomer for the fixed and tunable polarization solutions, respectively, deriving interesting insights regarding the conversion dynamics from the optimized pulse shape. Finally, we discuss several potential applications of the proposed approach, including a study of time-resolved racemization and a chiral switch.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1941-1952
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Physics
Issue number15-16
StatePublished - Aug 10 2012


  • axial chirality
  • molecular torsion
  • optimal control
  • strong field control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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