About ELCH


The ELCH project is funded as part of the 3rd series of the support of Hessian State Offensive for the Development of Scientific and Economic Excellence (LOEWE).


Systems of opposite chirality (handedness) can not cover(despite the same ingredients) their mirror images by rotation, just as left and right hands. They interact due to the different arrangement of its components differently with their environment. In the (bio)chemistry, chirality of a molecule is crucial for its chemical and physiological reactions, since all the essential building blocks of life, such as DNA molecules possess a definite chirality. Therefore, the effectiveness of drugs depends on the handedness of the drug molecules, or molecules of opposite chirality (enantiomers) evoke different physiological responses (For example (S) - (+) - carvone smells like cumin and (R) - (-) - carvone - like peppermint). Enantiomerically pure substances therefore just as enantiomer-selective detection and separation methods have great importance in the pharmaceutical industry.


While in the classical structural model of the chemistry chirality is explained with a chiral arrangement of the atomic nuclei, atomic and molecular properties (eg, the reaction behavior or processes by particle beam or electromagnetic excitation) are determined by the dynamics of the electron system. This aspect has so far been little studied for chiral systems, as the requisite elaborate experimental techniques and theoretical methods have been developed only in recent years under the alliance partners decisive participation.

Work schedule

Due to the complementary expertise of the experimental findings of alliance partners almost all chiral probes available in nature can be used in LOEWE (circularly polarized or polarization-shaped laser fields, spin-polarized electrons and individual high-energy circularly polarized photons (synchrotron)). First ELCH (ELectron dynamics of CHiral systems), part of LOEWE project, focuses on answer basic questions on chirality in the electron dynamics in comparison with theoretically and numerically sophisticated models of the partners. The resulting understanding will go far beyond the present state and lead to new enantiomer selective analysis. All participating groups from the experimental and theoretical atomic and molecular physics and from theoretical chemistry and also their unique position in the international research represent sophisticated methods of studding electronic processes in atoms and molecules. This creates a unique team in a long-term association of atomic and molecular physics research. Specific questions to be answered in the ELCH focus are, for example, how fast electron dynamics induced by external excitation is transferred to the core structure, whether it is possible to determine the absolute configuration of a chiral molecule experimentally or if fragmentation of chiral molecules due to customized polarization-shaped laser pulses irradiation can be enantiomerically selectively affected.