Monthly Archives: October 2016

Nature (the Journal) and chirality

I am concerned by the way the leading journal Nature deals with the subject of chirality and its relation with optics. I would say that this journal is becoming notorious for publishing papers containing  confusing (and sometimes wrong) statements about chirality. Unfortunately this is not new.

In 2013/2014 I sent to Nature Photonics a short letter titled “A note on optical activity and extrinsic chirality” questioning the concept of extrinsic chirality and explaining how it could lead to very unfortunate confusions. Very long time after the submission the Editor told me that I was right but he argued that everything I was saying was well-known. I was not very satisfied with this response but at least I hoped my note had served as a heads up for the Journal.

A couple of months ago I saw that Nature had published a paper with the surprising title: Experimental demonstration of the microscopic origin of circular dichroism in two-dimensional metamaterials by AB Khanikaev et al. . This title is already not very promising because two-dimensionality and circular dichroism are, in principle, incompatible concepts, but unfortunately what comes inside can only be described as a  confusing and confused understanding of circular dichroism. This time I wrote another short letter to Nature titled “Circular dichorism and two-dimensional materials” and I submitted it as Brief Communication arising to the paper by  Khanikaev. The editor this time said that this discussion is clear to the metamaterials community and it does not challenges the conclusions of the paper for this community. Sure?

Again, I hope that this second letter has served as a heads up for Nature, but  at this time I can only advise caution when reading a Nature paper dealing with these topics.

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