Nonlinear chiral molecular photonics using twisted light: hyper-Rayleigh and hyper-Raman optical activity

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Chiroptical and optical activity effects involve differential interactions between matter and light. Generally this involves chiral molecules absorbing or scattering right- and left-handed circularly polarized photons at different rates due to the chiroptical interplay of molecular and optical chirality. Laser light which propagates with a helical phase and twisted wavefront possesses optical orbital angular momentum. These optical vortices can twist either clockwise or anticlockwise, and as such they exhibit an optical handedness or chirality completely distinct from that of circular polarization. It has recently been established that the linear optical effects of single-photon absorption and scattering can exhibit optical activity and chiroptical interactions with respect to the optical vortex handedness. Here a fundamental mechanism of optical activity for twisted light is exhibited in nonlinear processes, with specific emphasis on hyper-Rayleigh and hyper-Raman scattering. In comparison to unstructured or plane-wave light, it is shown that using twisted photons produces novel scattering mechanisms dependent on parameters unique to optical vortex beams. Specifically, the scattered intensity for both hyper-Rayleigh and hyper-Raman optical activity is dependent on the sign and magnitude of the OAM of the incident twisted photons, as well as the transverse position of the chiral scatterer. Moreover, symmetry analysis reveals that, unlike the recently discovered linear optical activity effects with optical vortices, nonlinear scattering of twisted light by chiral molecules leads to a modification of scattering through uniquely weighted individual hyperpolarizability contributions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number095401
JournalJournal of Optics
Issue number9
Early online date29 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


  • chirality
  • hyper-Rayleigh scattering
  • nonlinear optics
  • optical activity
  • optical vortex
  • scattering
  • structured light

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