Abstract

Angle-resolved circularly polarized light scattering calculations are demonstrated to identify virus particles from nonvirus particles. A coronavirus particle is modeled as having a spherical shaped envelope with cylindrical spikes projected from the envelope surface, and the single-stranded ribonucleic acid (RNA) genome polymer has been mimicked with a toroidal helix. The influence of genome polymer packaged as a standard helix in the virion core is also demonstrated. We investigated four different electromagnetic models: (i) a nucleated sphere with spikes that is a coronavirus particle, (ii) a nucleated sphere with no spikes, (iii) a homogeneous sphere, and (iv) a respiratory fluid containing a virus particle. The angular pattern of scattered circularly polarized light, the circular intensity differential scattering of light (CIDS), served as a particle’s signature. This scattering signature is found sensitive to the chiral parameters that reveal information about the particles. The effect of changes in the RNA polymer, changes in its packaging, number of turns, handedness, and size are demonstrated on the scattering calculations. Additionally, the extinction efficiency, the depolarization ratio, the total scattered intensity, and the effect of changes in the wavelength of incident light on these scattering quantities are investigated. This biophysical method can offer a label-free identification of virus particles and can help understand their interaction with light.

© 2021 Optical Society of America

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Data underlying the results presented in this paper are not publicly available at this time but may be obtained from the authors upon reasonable request.

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