Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Synthesis of Chiral Nanoparticles

Technology #6470

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Nicholas Kotov
Managed By
Richard Greeley
Senior Licensing Specialist, Engineering 734-936-2093
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending
Chiral templating of self-assembling nanostructures by circularly polarized light
Nature Materials, 2014

Chiral nanoparticle and nanostructures are of interest due to their unique properties and potential for applications in catalysis, biosensing, pharmaceuticals, photonics and plasmonics. The global market for chiral technologies was estimates in 2011 to be worth $5.3B and is projected to grow with 6.5% CAGR to C$7.2B in 2016. Nanoscale chirality allows nanostructures and materials to rotate the polarization of linearly polarized and circularly polarized light. In most cases, chirality of nanoparticles is achieved by using biological chiral ligands to cause chirality in nanoparticle structures. An alternative method for inducing chirality in matter uses circularly polarized light to restructure material on the nano- or atomic scale to cause chirality, but this method has not been studied.

Chiral structures using circularly polarized light

Using photons which are circularly polarized by chiral light, gold nanoparticles and other nanostructures have been created. The nanoparticles retain polarization information of the incident photons, resulting in chiral particles and structures. The synthesis of these enantiopure particles and structures using only light rather than chiral ligands is considered to be a breakthrough in the field. Use of circularly polarized light to produce chiral particles and structures is a simpler, faster and more economical means of creating chiral materials than use of ligands.


  • Biosensing
  • Optical materials
  • Telecommunications
  • Metamaterials
  • Chiral catalysts


  • Does not require use of ligands
  • Fast processing uses only light
  • Economical without need for additional materials