Chiral molecular films as electron polarizers and polarization modulators

Ernesto Medina, Floralba López, Mark A Ratner, Vladimiro Mujica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

59 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent experiments on electron scattering through molecular films have shown that chiral molecules can be efficient sources of polarized electrons even in the absence of heavy nuclei as source of a strong spin-orbit interaction. We show that self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of chiral molecules are strong electron polarizers due to the high-density effect of the monolayers and explicitly compute the scattering amplitude off a helical molecular model of carbon atoms. Longitudinal polarization is shown to be the signature of chiral scattering. For elastic scattering, we find that at least double-scattering events must take place for longitudinal polarization to arise. We predict energy windows for strong polarization, determined by the energy dependences of spin-orbit strength and multiple scattering probability. An incoherent mechanism for polarization amplification is proposed, that increases the polarization linearly with the number of helix turns, consistent with recent experiments on DNA SAMs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17006
JournalEurophysics Letters
Volume99
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012

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polarizers
modulators
polarization
electrons
scattering
heavy nuclei
spin-orbit interactions
scattering amplitude
helices
molecules
elastic scattering
electron scattering
deoxyribonucleic acid
signatures
orbits
energy
carbon
atoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Chiral molecular films as electron polarizers and polarization modulators. / Medina, Ernesto; López, Floralba; Ratner, Mark A; Mujica, Vladimiro.

In: Europhysics Letters, Vol. 99, No. 1, 17006, 07.2012.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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