The possibilities offered by light scattering for the study of chiral molecules have not yet been fully realised. We are exploring two promising avenues.

Rayleigh optical activity (RayOA) is the differential Rayleigh scattering of left- and right-handed circularly polarised light, a phenomenon shown naturally by small chiral molecules. Although RayOA was predicted some fifty years ago, no experimental observations of natural RayOA have been reported yet for small chiral molecules. RPC and DM are expanding the existing theory of RayOA [1,2] with a view towards developing dedicated RayOA spectrometers. Potential applications include the robust assignment of absolute configuration.

Second-order linear light scattering (SOLLS) is a subtle manifestation of light scattering predicted recently by RPC and a collaborator [3]. Potential applications include the ability to probe molecular chirality within a racemic mixture.


  1. R. P. Cameron and S. M. Barnett, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 16, 25819 (2014).
  2. R. P. Cameron, J. B. Götte, S. M. Barnett and A. M. Yao, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 375, 20150433 (2016).
  3. R. P. Cameron and N. MacKinnon, Physical Review A 98, 013814 (2018).