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Rotation of the polarization of light as a tool for investigating the collisional transfer of angular momentum from rotating molecules to macroscopic gas flows

Abstract : We present a detailed theoretical and experimental study of the rotation of the plane of polarization of light traveling through a gas of fast-spinning molecules. This effect is similar to the polarization drag phenomenon predicted by Fermi a century ago and it is a mechanical analog of the Faraday effect. In our experiments, molecules were spun up by an optical centrifuge and brought to the super-rotor state that retains its rotation for a relatively long time. Polarizability properties of fast-rotating molecules were analyzed considering the rotational Doppler effect and Coriolis forces. We used molecular dynamics simulations to account for intermolecular collisions. We found, both experimentally and theoretically, a nontrivial nonmonotonic time dependence of the polarization rotation angle. This time dependence reflects the transfer of the angular momentum from rotating molecules to the macroscopic gas flow, which may lead to the birth of gas vortices. Moreover, we show that the long-term behavior of the polarization rotation is sensitive to the details of the intermolecular potential. Thus, the polarization drag effect appears as a novel diagnostic tool for the characterization of intermolecular interaction potentials and studies of collisional processes in gases.
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https://hal-insu.archives-ouvertes.fr/insu-03726913
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Submitted on : Friday, July 22, 2022 - 9:04:20 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 13, 2022 - 10:08:28 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Sunday, October 23, 2022 - 6:12:59 PM

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Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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Ilia Tutunnikov, Uri Steinitz, Erez Gershnabel, Jean-Michel Hartmann, Alexander A. Milner, et al.. Rotation of the polarization of light as a tool for investigating the collisional transfer of angular momentum from rotating molecules to macroscopic gas flows. Physical Review Research, 2022, 4, ⟨10.1103/PhysRevResearch.4.013212⟩. ⟨insu-03726913⟩

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