Imaging chiroptical artifacts


  • Contribution to special issue of Chirality reporting the proceedings of the Southeastern Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society, “Advances in Chiroptical Methods”, Nashville, 2008.

  • Contribution to the special thematic project “Advances in Chiroptical Methods”


It is well-known that circular dichroism (CD) measurements of anisotropic media may contain artifacts that result from mixed linear anisotropies. Such artifacts are generally considered a nuisance. However, systematic artifacts, carefully measured, may contain valuable information. Herein, polycrystalline spherulites of D-sorbitol grown from the melt were analyzed with a Mueller matrix microscope, among other differential polarization images devices. As spherulites grew into one another they developed strong apparent optical rotation and CD signals at the boundaries between spherulites. These signals are shown not to have a chiroptical origin but rather resultfrom the interactions of linear anisotropies in polycrystalline bodies. Such chiroptical artifacts should not be dismissed reflexively. Rather, they are comprehensible crystal-optical effects that serve to define mesoscale structure. Chirality 21:E20–E27, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.