Can laser plasmas produce chiral molecules?

Grant Agency
Grant Agency of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Molecular Spectroscopy and Photochemistry.
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Main contractor: Institute of Physics AS CR, v.v.i. (Dr. Libor Juha)

Main goal of the project is to investigate laser-produced plasmas as a laboratory model of high-energy-density events (e.g., high-velocity impacts) potentially causing in planetary atmospheres formation of chiral organic molecules from atmospheric inorganic gases. The conditions of laser-plasma generation will be varied to obtain and maximize an excess of one enantiomer in direction of the homochirality typical for contemporary living matter. Proposed mechanisms of the asymmetric synthesis are based on simultaneous action of self-generated, non-perpendicular electric and magnetic fields on the chemically active region of laser plasmas.
Alternative mechanisms, e.g., photochemical and radiation chemical ones, will also be investigated with respect to radiation processes occurring in laser plasmas. The project would benefit from a unique combination of the plasma and radiation sources available at IP-ASCR and advanced analytical and diagnostic techniques provided by other participants.
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3275, 3205, 3014