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J Am Chem Soc. 2005 Mar 9;127(9):2834-5.

Imaging chirality with surface second harmonic generation microscopy.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Utah, 315 S. 1400 E. RM 2020, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112, USA.


Chirality is a fundamental construct in nature which arises from an antisymmetric arrangement of atoms, molecules, or larger structures, resulting in the formation of nonsuperimposable mirror images. Bulk chiral effects can easily be measured using circular dichroism (CD) or optical rotary dispersion (ORD). However, the imaging of chirality originating from molecular surface films cannot be obtained with these linear optical methods. By using chiral second harmonic generation (C-SHG), with its inherent surface sensitivity and ability to discriminate between the symmetry of surface adsorbed species in combination with a counter-propagating optical geometry, we have developed the first nonlinear chiral microscope. In the study presented here, the intrinsic chirality of R- and S-(+)-1,1'-bi-2-naphthol (RBN, SBN) has been used to image a patterned planar supported lipid bilayer (PSLB) of 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPC) using C-SHG. Spatial resolution of the patterned PSLB is visible when either RBN or SBN is intercalated into the membrane. No image is observed when a racemic mixture of RBN and SBN is present. The C-SHG images are compared with those obtained from fluorescence microscopy to verify the C-SHG imaging technique. The results presented here demonstrate that C-SHG possesses the requisite surface selectivity and sensitivity to detect interfacial chirality and provides a direct route for the visualization of chirality originating from molecular surface films.

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