Chiral nanoparticle-induced amplification in optical activity of molecules with chiral centers

Lin Yang, Junjun Liu, Junhong Deng, Zhifeng Huang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Sensitive differentiation of an enantiomer from its mirror image (ie, enantiodifferentiation), a perennial challenge for pharmaceutical production and disease diagnosis, is technically limited by the weak optical activity (OA) of enantiomers, mainly due to their dimensional mismatch with light wavelengths in the ultraviolet (UV)-visible region. Here we use silver chiral nanoparticles (Ag CNPs) with nominally sub-5 nm helical pitch (P) to amplify the OA of (2′R, 3′R, 4′S)-riboflavin-5′-phosphate sodium salts (RP), which have been found to indirectly affect metabolic processes, through the formation of an RP thin film (TF) covering a close-packed array of Ag CNPs. The OA of the RP in the deep-UV region can be amplified up to 80-fold, ascribed to the aggregation of RP in the TFs and the interactions between RP and the atomically chiral lattices at the CNPs' surfaces. The former contribution, not associated with the chiral Ag topographies, plays a dominant role by thickening the RP TFs, so that the observed amplification has no enantioselective dependence on the chirality of the Ag CNPs. This study extends progress in the sensitive detection of bio-enantiomers, which is highly desired for advanced bio-detection in disease diagnosis and production of single-enantiomer pharmaceuticals. (Figure presented.)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1216-1224
Number of pages9
Issue number6
Early online date17 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)

User-Defined Keywords

  • (2'R,3'R,4'S)-riboflavin-5'-phosphate sodium salt
  • chiral nanoparticles
  • circular dichroism
  • glancing angle deposition
  • optical activity


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