Chiral Molecules, Structures and Materials

Louis Pasteur
Lord Kelvin
Click Here for a History of Chirality
Two objects which are mirror images of each other are enantiomers. One member of the pair can be distorted continuously into the other. Though one might think that the molecule must go through an achiral point, this is not true. Click here to see an animation which illustrates this concept (requires Internet Explorer 5).

Chiral molecules lead to macroscopically chiral phases of matter. How can we predict these micron-scale effects from Angstrom-scale physics?

Molecular Chirality and Chiral Parameters
On the Microscopic Origin of Cholesteric Pitch
Chiral Interactions and Structures
Elasticity Theory of a Twisted Stack of Plates

How do you pack a lifetime's worth of genetic information fit into a micron-sized suitcase (your cell)? Liquid crystalline arrangements of DNA and other biomolecules can help!

Liquids with Chiral Bond Order
Chiral Mesophases of DNA
Boundary Effects in Chiral Polymer Hexatics
Weak Chirality in Ordered DNA Phases
Self-Assembly in Vivo

How can you resolve the frustration between chiral packing and close packing?

Minimal Surfaces, Screw Dislocations and Twist Grain Boundaries
Smectic Order in Double-Twist Cylinders
Iterated Moiré Maps and Braiding of Chiral Polymer Crystals
Defects in Chiral Columnar Phases: Tilt Grain Boundaries and Iterated Moiré Maps
Force-Free Configurations of Vortices in High-Temperature Superconductors near the Melting Transition Flux lines in superconductors adopt liquid crystal structures!

How do polymer degrees of freedom get incorporated into liquid crystalline phases?

Anomalous Elasticity of Polymer Cholesterics Click here to see a poster on this work.
Twisted Line Liquids

Some Interesting Sites About Chirality

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation National Science Foundation This work is supported, in part, through the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the National Science Foundation through Grant DMR97-32963.
© Copyright 2000-2001, Randall D. Kamien
Last Modified 16 October 2001