Yuval Shagam won an ERC grant

Assistant Professor Yuval Shagam  from the Schulich Faculty of Chemistry is a member of the Helen Diller Quantum Center. He focuses on understanding molecular chirality: a molecule or ion that cannot be superposed on its mirror image. Such molecules are often distinguished as either “right-handed” or “left-handed.” Molecular chirality plays a central role in many fields, ranging from reaction dynamics to drug development. Molecules of opposite-handedness, known as enantiomers, can have different smells and different medicinal properties among other things. For example, in thalidomide, while one enantiomer is used to sooth nausea, the other enantiomer was found to be toxic for a fetus. This makes development of sensitive tools for detection of chiral contaminants particularly important. The ERC grant will allow Prof. Shagam and his team to realize the first trapped chiral molecular ion experiment in order to measure parity violation and detect the structural differences between enantiomers. The outcome can lead to an improved understanding of molecular physics as well as important applications for quantum-controlled chemistry experiments and quantum information technology.