Directed Emission from Self-Assembled Microhelices

Lukas Helmbrecht, Melissa Tan, Ruslan Röhrich, Marloes H. Bistervels, Bruno Ortiz Kessels, A. Femius Koenderink, Bart Kahr, Willem L. Noorduin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bottom-up assembly can organize simple building blocks into complex architectures for light manipulation. The optical properties of self-assembled polycrystalline barium carbonate/silica double helices are studied using fluorescent Fourier and Mueller matrix microscopy. Helices doped with fluorescein direct light emission along the long axis of the structure. Furthermore, light transmission measured normal and parallel to the long axis exhibits twist sense-specific circular retardance and waveguiding, respectively, although the measurements suffer from depolarization. The helices thus integrate highly directional emission with enantiomorph-specific polarization. This optical response emerges from the arrangement of nanoscopic mineral crystallites in the microscopic helix, and demonstrates how bottom-up assembly can achieve ordering across multiple length scales to form complex functional materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1908218
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number26
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • bioinspired materials
  • hierarchical structures
  • optical microscopy
  • polarimetry
  • self-assembly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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