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A Chirality-Based Quantum Leap


There is increasing interest in the study of chiral degrees of freedom occurring in matter and in electromagnetic fields. Opportunities in quantum sciences will likely exploit two main areas that are the focus of this Review: (1) recent observations of the chiral-induced spin selectivity (CISS) effect in chiral molecules and engineered nanomaterials and (2) rapidly evolving nanophotonic strategies designed to amplify chiral light-matter interactions. On the one hand, the CISS effect underpins the observation that charge transport through nanoscopic chiral structures favors a particular electronic spin orientation, resulting in large room-temperature spin polarizations. Observations of the CISS effect suggest opportunities for spin control and for the design and fabrication of room-temperature quantum devices from the bottom up, with atomic-scale precision and molecular modularity. On the other hand, chiral-optical effects that depend on both spin- and orbital-angular momentum of photons could offer key advantages in all-optical and quantum information technologies. In particular, amplification of these chiral light-matter interactions using rationally designed plasmonic and dielectric nanomaterials provide approaches to manipulate light intensity, polarization, and phase in confined nanoscale geometries. Any technology that relies on optimal charge transport, or optical control and readout, including quantum devices for logic, sensing, and storage, may benefit from chiral quantum properties. These properties can be theoretically and experimentally investigated from a quantum information perspective, which has not yet been fully developed. There are uncharted implications for the quantum sciences once chiral couplings can be engineered to control the storage, transduction, and manipulation of quantum information. This forward-looking Review provides a survey of the experimental and theoretical fundamentals of chiral-influenced quantum effects and presents a vision for their possible future roles in enabling room-temperature quantum technologies.

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