Optical Manifestations of Planar Chirality

A. Papakostas,1,2 A. Potts,1,2 D. M. Bagnall,1,2 S. L. Prosvirnin,3 H. J. Coles,2 and N. I. Zheludev1

1Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Southampton, SO17 1BJ, United Kingdom
2Department of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, SO17 1BJ, United Kingdom
3Institute of Radio Astronomy of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kharkov, 61002, Ukraine

Phys. Rev. Lett. 90, 107404 (14 March 2003)


We report that planar chiral structures affect the polarization state of light in a manner similar to three-dimensional chiral (optical active) media. In experiments with artificial metal-on-silicon chiral planar gratings of 442 wallpaper group symmetry, containing millions of chiral elements per square centimeter, we observed rotation of the polarization azimuth in excess of 30° of light diffracted from it. The rotation was found to change its sign for two enantiomeric forms of the media and to have components associated with both the structural arrangement and the chirality of individual structural elements.