Separating enantiomers is crucial to produce bio-active molecules, e.g., in early-phase drug discovery.
CHIRALFORCE aims at a radically new strategy to separate enantiometers on chip, using chiral optical forces at silicon-based integrated waveguides.
The present solution of chiral chromatography for this multi-billion market is slow and cumbersome since it requires tailored chemistry for each chiral compound, and relies on large and expensive separation columns.
Instead, CHIRALFORCE envisions cm-length optical circuits integrated with microfluidics for extremely quick, tuneable, and cheap enantiomeric separation. The underlying mechanism relies on optical forces that are enantioselective, due to interaction of spin-properties of the optical field with the chiral optical polarizability of matter.
These chiral optical forces can be tailored well beyond the possibilities of free-space chiral light through nanophotonic design of strongly confined modes. Flowing analyte in microfluidic channels along cm-length laser-driven will then result in enantio-separation.