Prospects for circular dichroism detection of nonracemic extraterrestrial organic molecules

J. W. Canary, A. E. Holmes, J. Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of circular dichroism is examined as a probe for the detection of nonracemic analytes on spacecraft explorations such as a planned mission to Titan. Advances in both instrument design and chemistry will be required to make such a method practicable. The focus of this paper is on chemical agents able to amplify the circular dichroism signal, which would simplify instrument problems and increase sensitivity. A classic phenomenon known as the Pfeiffer effect provides a conceptual strategy to achieve the necessary aims for chirality detection. Recent examples of Pfeiffer-related phenomena are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-188
Number of pages8
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 2001


  • Chiral sensors
  • Circular dichroism
  • Host-guest chemistry
  • Molecular recognition
  • Pfeiffer effect
  • Titan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Organic Chemistry


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