There is a long standing scientific mystery related to chiral molecules: Living cells are homochiral, i.e., they exclusively consist of left-handed amino acids. It is believed that homochirality is essential for long-lived systems, however the origin of homochirality is still not known. Here we study the energy difference between radical chiral enantiomers induced by weak interactions
analytically, and aim to shed light on the fundamental questions of science related to the origin of homochirality.

Parity violation in Weak Interactions:

The left- and right-handed chiral molecules have slightly different energies due to the parity-violating weak force, which may be related to the emergence of homochirality in the early universe.

Abdus Salam, J. Mol. Evol. 33:105-113, (1991).


Current status


Future goals

The energy difference between two chiral enantiomers is predicted to be tiny (10^-18  – 10^-17  eV). In order to measure such a small energy change, the molecules will be cooled to ultra-cold temperature such that there are no doppler/transit broadening observed in the measured line shape. A chiral radical is predicted to provide enhanced energy separation between its enantiomer in comparison to a non-radical chiral molecule. Our future goal is to generate ultra-cold chiral radicals and perform precision spectroscopy on them.

Recent publications

  •  “Stern–Gerlach separator of chiral enantiomers based on the Casimir-Polder potential”
    F. Suzuki, T. Momose, and S. Y. Buhman, Phys. Rev. A 99, 012513 (2019)  9 pages
  •  “Anapole moment of a chiral molecule revisited”
    Takeshi Fukuyama, Takamasa Momose, and Daisuke Nomura
    Euro.  Phys. J. D, 69 (12),  264(10 pages)   (2015)