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Phys Rev Lett. 2001 Oct 15;87(16):163601. Epub 2001 Sep 28.

Angular focusing, squeezing, and rainbow formation in a strongly driven quantum rotor.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Physics, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel.


Semiclassical catastrophes in the dynamics of a quantum rotor (molecule) driven by a strong time-varying field are considered. We show that for strong enough fields, a sharp peak in the rotor angular distribution can be achieved via a time-domain focusing phenomenon, followed by the formation of rainbowlike angular structures. A strategy leading to the enhanced angular squeezing is proposed that uses a specially designed sequence of pulses. The predicted effects can be observed in many processes, ranging from molecular alignment (orientation) by laser fields to heavy-ion collisions, and the trapping of cold atoms by a standing light wave.

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