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Phys Rev Lett. 2019 Aug 9;123(6):066803. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.123.066803.

Circular Dichroism in Rotating Particles.

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ICFO-Institut de Ciencies Fotoniques, The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology, 08860 Castelldefels (Barcelona), Spain.
School of Physics and Technology, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China.
ICREA-Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats, Passeig Lluís Companys 23, 08010 Barcelona, Spain.


Light interaction with rotating nanostructures gives rise to phenemona as varied as optical torques and quantum friction. Surprisingly, the most basic optical response function of nanostructures undergoing rotation has not been clearly addressed so far. Here we reveal that mechanical rotation results in circular dichroism in optically isotropic particles, which show an unexpectedly strong dependence on the particle internal geometry. More precisely, particles with one-dimensionally confined electron motion in the plane perpendicular to the rotation axis, such as nanorings and nanocrosses, exhibit a splitting of 2Ω in the particle optical resonances, while compact particles, such as nanodisks and nanospheres, display weak circular dichroism. We base our findings on a quantum-mechanical description of the polarizability of rotating particles, incorporating the mechanical rotation by populating the particle electronic states according to the principle that they are thermally equilibrated in the rotating frame. We further provide insight into the rotational superradience effect and the ensuing optical gain, originating in population inversion as regarded from the lab frame, in which the particle is out of equilibrium. Surprisingly, we find the optical frequency cutoff for superradiance to deviate from the rotation frequency Ω. Our results unveil a rich, unexplored phenomenology of light interaction with rotating objects, which might find applications in various fields, such as optical trapping and sensing.

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