Metamaterials and chiral sensing: A review of fundamentals and applications

Seok Jae Yoo, Q. Han Park

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

165 Citations (Scopus)


Chirality, a property of broken mirror symmetry, prevails in nature. Chiral molecules show different biochemical behaviors to their mirror molecules. For left or right circularly polarized lights, the fundamental chiral states of electromagnetic fields interact differently with chiral matter, and this effect has been used as a powerful tool for the detection of chiral molecules. This optical sensing, also termed chiral sensing, is not only easy to implement but also non-invasive to the analytes. However, the measurements made by the optical sensing of chiral molecules are challenging, as chiroptical signals are extremely weak. Recent years have seen active research efforts into metamaterial and plasmonic platforms for manipulating local fields to enhance chiroptical signals. This metamaterial approach offers new possibilities of chiral sensing with high sensitivity. Here, we review the recent advances in chiral sensing using metamaterial and plasmonic platforms. In addition, we explain the underlying principles behind the enhancement of chiroptical signals and highlight practically efficient chiral sensing platforms. We also provide perspectives that shed light on design considerations for chiral sensing metamaterials and discuss the possibility of other types of chiral sensing based on resonant metamaterials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-261
Number of pages13
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This work was supported by the Samsung Science and Technology Foundation under project no. SSTF-BA1401-05. SeokJae Yoo was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (2017R1A6A3A11034238).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 De Gruyter. All rights reserved.


  • Chiral molecules
  • Chiral sensing
  • Chiroptical spectroscopy
  • Circular dichroism (CD)
  • Enantiomers
  • Metamaterials
  • Optical rotatory dispersion (ORD)
  • Optical spectroscopy
  • Plasmonics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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