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Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2015 Jan 14;17(2):951-6. doi: 10.1039/c4cp04434g. Epub 2014 Nov 19.

Observation of nondispersing classical-like molecular rotation.

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Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of British Columbia, 6224 Agricultural Road, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z1.


Using the technique of an optical centrifuge, we produce rotational wave packets which evolve in time along either classical-like or non-classical trajectories. After releasing O2 and D2 molecules from the centrifuge, we track their field-free rotation by monitoring the molecular angular distribution with velocity map imaging. Due to the dispersion of the created rotational wave packets in oxygen, we observe a gradual transition between "dumbbell"-shaped and "cross"-shaped distributions, both rotating with a classical rotation frequency. In deuterium, a much narrower rotational wave packet is produced and shown to evolve in a truly classical non-dispersing fashion.


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