In this work, the photoionization of chiral molecules by an elliptically polarized, high repetition rate, femtosecond laser is probed. The resulting 3D photoelectron angular distribution shows a strong forward–backward asymmetry, which is highly dependent not only on the molecular structure but also on the ellipticity of the laser pulse. By continuously varying the laser ellipticity, we can observe molecular and enantiomer changes in real time at a previously unseen speed and precision. The technique allows enantiomeric excess of a pure compound to be measured with a 5% precision within 3 s, and a 10‐min acquisition yields a precision of 0.4%. The isomers camphor and fenchone can be easily distinguished, unlike with conventional mass spectrometry. Preliminary results for the pharmaceutically interesting ibuprofen are also given, showing the capability of photoionization as a means of distinguishing larger molecular systems.
Comby, A., Bloch, E., Bond, C. M. M., Deschamps, D., Fabre, B., Petit, S., Greenwood, J. B., Blanchet, V., & Mairesse, Y. (2020). Using photoelectron elliptical dichroism (PEELD) to determine real‐time variation of enantiomeric excess. Chirality. https://doi.org/10.1002/chir.23267