From October 1 to 5, 2023, the MOLTECH-Anjou laboratory organized the « 5th Symposium Chirality @ The Nanoscale » in Angers, France. Held every four years since 2007, this prestigious conference brings together scientists interested in chirality in the general sense, with a particular focus on materials and physical properties related to chirality at the nanoscale.
Chirality is central to the building blocks of life: amino acids and sugars. Such chiral molecules exist in two mirror-image forms, like left and right hands. Already Louis Pasteur discovered that a crystalline deposit found in wine barrels during fermentation consisted of equal amounts of left- and right-handed crystals. Chiral molecules can form either racemic (heterochiral) crystals, which contain equal numbers of left- and right-handed molecules in the same crystal, or – like in Pasteur’s case – conglomerates of separate left- or right- handed (homochiral) crystals. Even today, more than 150 years after Pasteur’s discovery, it is not understood why chiral compounds sometimes crystallize into conglomerates or into racemic crystals. In order to better understand the complex phenomenon of stereorecognition among chiral molecules, new physical approaches based on modern techniques are applied that go beyond classical chemistry. Moreover, new materials systems are created nowadays that show novel or enhanced physical phenomena based on chirality, like electron spin filtering, magnetochiral anisotropy, molecular machines, spin spirals in magnetic materials of transport phenomena, circularly polarized luminescence.
The aim of this highly interdisciplinary conference is to bring together researchers from different fields dealing with molecular chirality and chiral phenomena in the physical sciences.
During this edition, two poster prizes, funded by EUR LUMOMAT, were awarded to Filippo Malacarne and Letizia Liiro Peluso.