Chiral nanophotonics has recently emerged as a promising tool to perform spectroscopy on chiral molecules. Since most of the molecular building blocks of life are chiral, there is a very large need for handedness-specific detection, synthesis, and separation of molecules. The chiral nature of matter usually expresses in optics as a very weak circular dichroism or optical rotation effect. The emerging field of chiral nanophotonics seeks to strongly magnify these weak chiroptical effects, by virtue of shaping locally the polarization properties of the electromagnetic field (socalled super-chiral light) in tightly confined, non-transverse, optical modes. Beyond optical signatures like circular dichroism and polarization rotation, also chiral optical forces and chiral optical torques are expected. In this project we will develop the physics of chiral optical forces for separation of enantiomers by light. You will work in an EU research program that has as ultimate aim to realize sorting of chiral analytes (flushed in via microfluidics) on basis of enantio-selective optical forces that are generated by engineered optical spin properties of light propagating in nanophotonic waveguides. This program brings together partners with expertise in chiral nanophotonic design, in the realization of integrated nanophotonics, in design and synthesis of chiral molecules and nanoparticles, microfluidics, and in scatterometry. Within this consortium, our task at AMOLF will be to design and perform experiments that quantify the optical scattering properties of, and chiral optical forces exerted on, chiral matter by means of optical microcopy. You will build on recent developments at AMOLF in fully polarimetrically resolved Fourier microscopy, which provides a unique tool to quantify the imprint of chiroptical effects on the differential scattering cross section of nano-objects with chiral polarizability, as function of their placement in structured chiral near-fields. In the second phase of the project you will implement tools from the optical tweezers community to quantify forces, and will study chiral sorting performance.
You need to meet the requirements for a doctors-degree and must have research experience in a non-Dutch academic environment.
We seek an excellent candidate with a background in physics, preferably in nanophotonics and/or spectroscopy. Candidates who have experience with experimental techniques, yet also have affinity to nanophotonics modelling are especially encouraged to apply. The successful candidate has a collaborative spirit, and will liaise with the European project partners.