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Chirality, while not a rarity in the world of molecules, is nevertheless a special property. If a molecule is chiral (from the Greek word chiros = hand), it exists in two mirrored versions that are very similar but not identical—like two hands that can be folded together, but cannot be placed congruently on top of each other. This is why we speak of right-handed and left-handed molecules, or enantiomers, which means "opposite shape" in Greek.

An international team of scientists from the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society and the Prokhorov General Physics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences has found a way to address these molecules separately. Since chiral molecules are very similar to each other, this is a real challenge. "The trick is to expose them to in a way so that only one 'hand,' i.e., one , responds. This allows us to specifically control right- or left-handed molecules and learn more about them," says Dr. Sandra Eibenberger-Arias, head of the Controlled Molecules group at the Fritz-Haber-Institut.

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