Necessary symmetry conditions for the rotation of light

Ivan Fernandez-Corbaton, Xavier Vidal, Nora Tischler, Gabriel Molina-Terriza

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18 Citations (Scopus)
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Two conditions on symmetries are identified as necessary for a linear scattering system to be able to rotate the linear polarization of light: Lack of at least one mirror plane of symmetry and electromagnetic duality symmetry. Duality symmetry is equivalent to the conservation of the helicity of light in the same way that rotational symmetry is equivalent to the conservation of angular momentum. When the system is a solution of a single species of particles, the lack of at least one mirror plane of symmetry leads to the familiar requirement of chirality of the individual particle. With respect to helicity preservation, according to the analytical and numerical evidence presented in this paper, the solution preserves helicity if and only if the individual particle itself preserves helicity. However, only in the particular case of forward scattering the helicity preservation condition on the particle is relaxed: We show that the random orientation of the molecules endows the solution with an effective rotational symmetry; at its turn, this leads to helicity preservation in the forward scattering direction independently of any property of the particle. This is not the case for a general scattering direction. These results advance the current understanding of the phenomena of molecular optical activity and provide insight for the design of polarization control devices at the nanoscale.

Original languageEnglish
Article number214311
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2013

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2013 Author(s). First published in The Journal of Chemical Physics, Volume 138, Issue 21, 214311 (2013). The original publication is available at Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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