Why Sugar Always Twists Light To The Right – Optical Rotation


From Steve Mould.

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A solution of sugar water can actually change the orientation of polarised light. Glucose/dextrose always twists light to the right! It’s all to do with the superposition for quantum states and the chirality or handedness of sugar molecules.

Here’s my video on why molecules created by biological processes only ever have one or the other handedness (Homochirality): https://youtu.be/SKhcan8pk2w

This online wave generator is amazing – https://emanim.szialab.org/index.html (thanks @kehrnal for pointing it out). – Set the two waves to left and right circular, tick the box to show the addition, tick the box to add a material then change the refractive index of the material! Here’s a link where that’s already set up for you: https://emanim.szialab.org/index.html?7VWwGgABgA

Here’s Vihart’s video on Metachirality which is relevant! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NmHZEKkkpM


First electromagnetic wave animation by And1mu (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:EM-Wave.gif)

Superposition animations by Pete McPartlan

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