Optical activity and time reversal

Barron, L.D. (1981) Optical activity and time reversal. Molecular Physics, 43(6), pp. 1395-1406. (doi: 10.1080/00268978100102151)

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The rôle of time reversal symmetry in natural and magnetic optical activity is discussed. Natural optical rotation is shown to be generated by an anti-hermitian odd parity time-even operator and magnetic optical rotation by an anti-hermitian even parity time-odd operator. This shows that lack of time reversal invariance is not the source of natural optical rotation and that free atoms can show natural optical rotation without violating reversality, which leads to a fundamental distinction between the conditions necessary for natural optical rotation and a permanent space-fixed electric dipole moment. General transition optical activity and polarizability tensors between components of degenerate states are discussed with reference to possible new Raman experiments and new contributions to discriminating intermolecular forces between chiral molecules. Time reversal symmetry also leads to a new criterion for chiral objects and to the concept that natural optical activity provides an example of spontaneous symmetry breaking with respect to CP.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Barron, Professor Laurence
Authors: Barron, L.D.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Chemistry
Journal Name:Molecular Physics
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1362-3028

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