Date of this Version
Reviews of Modern Physics
The fundamental issues of symmetry related to chirality are discussed and applied to simple situations relevant to liquid crystals. The authors show that any chiral measure of a geometric object is a pseudoscalar (invariant under proper rotations but changing sign under improper rotations) and must involve three-point correlations that only come into play when the molecule has at least four atoms. In general, a molecule is characterized by an infinite set of chiral parameters. The authors illustrate the fact that these parameters can have differing signs and can vanish at different points as a molecule is continuously deformed into its mirror image. From this it is concluded that handedness is not an absolute concept but depends on the property being observed. Within a simplified model of classical interactions, the chiral parameter of the constituent molecules that determines the macroscopic pitch of cholesterics is identified.
Harris, A., Kamien, R. D., & Lubensky, T. C. (1999). Molecular Chirality and Chiral Parameter. Reviews of Modern Physics, 71 (5), 1745-1757. http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/RevModPhys.71.1745
Date Posted: 21 August 2015
This document has been peer reviewed.