Circular polarization induced by the three-dimensional chiral structure of human sweat ducts

Itai Hayut, Paul Ben Ishai, Aharon J. Agranat, Yuri Feldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The upper part of the human eccrine sweat ducts, embedded within the epidermis layer, have a well-defined helical structure. It was recently suggested that, as electromagnetic entities, the sweat ducts interact with sub-mm waves [Y. Feldman, Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 128102 (2008)PRLTAO0031-900710. 1103/PhysRevLett.100.128102]. Although correlation between changes in the reflectance spectrum in this frequency range and physiological activities has been shown, a direct link between the electromagnetic reflection and the helical structure itself has remained to be established. The fact that the sweat ducts manifest natural homochirality is henceforth used to produce this link. We report the detection of circular polarization asymmetry in the electromagnetic reflection from the human skin at sub-THz frequencies in vivo. We compare the results to numerical simulations and to measurements of a fabricated metamaterial. We argue that the observed circular dichroism can be interpreted uniquely as the signature of the helical structure itself. By twisting reflected electromagnetic waves, the human skin exhibits properties which are usually discussed only in the framework of metamaterial science.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number042715
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number4
StatePublished - 25 Apr 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'Circular polarization induced by the three-dimensional chiral structure of human sweat ducts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this