Quantum Dynamics of a Polar Rotor Acted upon by an Electric Rectangular Pulse of Variable Duration

(a) Rotational kinetic energy imparted to a polar rigid rotor in different initial states. (b) Corresponding expansion coefficients in a free rotor basis.

Mallikarjun Karra, Bretislav Friedrich, and Burkhard Schmidt

As demonstrated in our previous work [J. Chem. Phys. 149, 174109 (2018)], the kinetic energy imparted to a quantum rotor by a non-resonant electromagnetic pulse with a Gaussian temporal profile exhibits quasi-periodic drops as a function of the pulse duration. Herein, we show that this behavior can be reproduced with a simple waveform, namely a rectangular electric pulse of variable duration, and examine, both numerically and analytically, its causes. Our analysis reveals that the drops result from the oscillating populations that make up the wavepacket created by the pulse and that they are necessarily accompanied by drops in the orientation and by a restoration of the pre-pulse alignment of the rotor. Handy analytic formulae are derived that allow to predict the pulse durations leading to diminished kinetic energy transfer and orientation. Experimental scenarios are discussed where the phenomenon could be utilized or be detrimental.

Mol. Phys. 119 (17-18), e1966111 (2021)