In nature, many molecules are chiral, that is, they exist in two forms which are mirror images, but one form cannot be superimposed on the other by rotation and translation, just as a left hand cannot be overlaid on a right hand. These molecules are extremely important in biology and life sciences. The property of chirality also extends to solids, in particular exotic states of matter such as topological insulators, for which the Nobel prize was recently awarded. In this project the research group will investigate the dynamics of free chiral molecules and topological insulators (TI). This innovative research will exploit different sources of radiation, and develop and consolidate new methodologies. Circular dichroism in photoemission, a synchrotron radiation technique, will be applied in both cases.
The project is founded on collaboration between the Italian CERIC partner facility at Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste and the Polish CERIC partner facility at the National Synchrotron Radiation Centre SOLARIS in Krakow, CNR-Istituto di Struttura della Materia, the University of Nova Gorica and University of Silesia, that will all bring valuable experience and competence to the project.
At present there are very few methods to study fast dynamics with chiral sensitivity. The research group will combine the method of PhotoElectron Circular Dichroism (PECD), used until now only for static studies, with pump-probe spectroscopy, using the ps laser available at Elettra and the fs laser at Uni Nova Gorica. This will extend the range of experimental possibilities available to CERIC users.
As well, the team will work together to plan and implement new, cutting-edge instrumentation for a planned new beamline at Solaris and an upgraded one (MOST, Elettra). Furthermore, it will carry out the detailed design of the insertion devices, beam transport, monochromators and layouts for the two beamlines, and so provide economies of scale. As well, prototyping of instruments will be carried out, and close contact will ensure knowledge transfer.
Scientific field(s) and main challenges of the project
Dyna Chiro aims to probe the dynamical behaviour of chiral molecules, with chiral sensitivity. The major challenges are the weakness of chiral effects in spectroscopy, and the dilute nature of the target. Furthermore, it aims at studying the chiral behaviour of topological insulators. The major challenges are the complexity of the physics and the fast time scales.
Dr. Kevin Prince
Dr. Robert Richter
Prof. Jacek Szade
Dr. Lorenzo Avaldi
Dr. Daniele Catone
Dr. Nicola Zema
Prof. Giovanni De Ninno
CERIC research projects' resources