A light beam changes direction as it enters a liquid at an angle from another medium, such as air. Should the liquid contain molecules that lack mirror symmetry, then it has been predicted by Fresnel that the light beam will not only change direction, but will actually split into two separate beams with a small difference in the respective angles of refraction. Here we report the observation of this phenomenon. We also demonstrate that the angle of reflection does not equal the angle of incidence in a chiral medium. Unlike conventional optical rotation, which depends on the path-length through the sample, the reported reflection and refraction phenomena arise within a few wavelengths at the interface and thereby suggest a new approach to polarimetry that can be used in microfluidic volumes.
Dynamical instrument limitations, such as finite detection bandwidth, do not simply add statistical errors to fluctuation measurements, but can create significant systematic biases that affect the measurement of steady-state properties. Such effects must be considered when calibrating ultra-sensitive force probes by analyzing the observed Brownian fluctuations. In this article, we present a novel method for extracting the true spring constant and diffusion coefficient of a harmonically confined Brownian particle that extends the standard equipartition and power spectrum techniques to account for video-image motion blur. These results are confirmed both numerically with a Brownian dynamics simulation, and experimentally with laser optical tweezers.
Chiral liquids rotate the plane of polarization of linearly polarized light and are therefore optically active. Here we show that optical rotation can be observed in the frequency domain. A chiral liquid introduced in a fiber-loop ring resonator that supports left and right circularly polarized modes gives rise to relative frequency shifts that are a direct measure of the liquid's circular birefringence and hence of its optical activity. The effect is in principle not diminished if the circumference of the ring is reduced. The technique is similarly applicable to refractive index and linear birefringence measurements.
We report optical scanning measurements on photocurrent in individual Si nanowire field effect transistors (SiNW FETs). We observe increases in the conductance of more than 2 orders of magnitude and a large conductance polarization anisotropy of 0.8, making our SiNW FETs a polarization-sensitive, high-resolution light detector. In addition, scanning images of photocurrent at various biases reveal the local energy- band profile especially near the electrode contacts. The magnitude and polarity of the photocurrent vary depending on the gate bias, a behavior that can be explained using band flattening and a Schottky-barrier-type change. This technique is a powerful tool for studying photosensitive nanoscale devices
We review nonlinear optical processes that are specific to chiral molecules in solution and on surfaces. In contrast to conventional natural optical activity phenomena, which depend linearly on the electric field strength of the optical field, we discuss how optical processes that are nonlinear (quadratic, cubic, and quartic) functions of the electromagnetic field strength may probe optically active centers and chiral vibrations. We show that nonlinear techniques open entirely new ways of exploring chirality in chemical and biological systems: The cubic processes give rise to nonlinear circular dichroism and nonlinear optical rotation and make it possible to observe dynamic chiral processes at ultrafast time scales. The quadratic second-harmonic and sum-frequency-generation phenomena and the quartic processes may arise entirely in the electric-dipole approximation and do not require the use of circularly polarized light to detect chirality. They provide surface selectivity and their observables can be relatively much larger than in linear optical activity. These processes also give rise to the generation of light at a new color, and in liquids this frequency conversion only occurs if the solution is optically active. We survey recent chiral nonlinear optical experiments and give examples of their application to problems of biophysical interest.