Time-Dependent Alignment of Molecules Trapped in Octahedral Crystal Fields

Dependence of the time-dependent alignment cosine on the pulse width σ for different values of polarizability and crystal field strength

Toni Kiljunen, Burkhard Schmidt, and Nikolaus Schwentner

The hindered rotational states of molecules confined in crystal fields of octahedral symmetry, and their time-dependent alignment obtained by pulsed nonresonant laser fields, are studied computationally. The control over the molecular axis direction is discussed based on the evolution of the rotational wave packet generated in the cubic crystal-field potential. The alignment degree obtained in a cooperative case, where the alignment field is applied in a favorable crystal-field direction, or in a competitive direction, where the crystal field has a local maximum, is presented. The investigation is divided into two time regimes where the pulse duration is either ultrashort, leading to nonadiabatic dynamics, or long with respect to period of molecular libration, which leads to synchronous alignment due to nearly adiabatic following. The results are contrasted to existing gas phase studies. In particular, the irregularity of the crystal field energies leads to persistent interference patterns in the alignment signals. The use of nonadiabatic alignment for interrogation of crystal-field energetics and the use of adiabatic alignment for directional control of molecular dynamics in solids are proposed as practical applications.

J. Chem. Phys. 124 (16), 164502 (2006)
Also selected for: Virtual Journal of Ultrafast Science 5 (5), (2006)