Broken symmetry of the kinetic coefficients and specular optical activity

Bungay, A.R., Svirko, Yu.P. and Zheludev, N.I. (1993) Broken symmetry of the kinetic coefficients and specular optical activity. Physical Review B: Condensed Matter, 47, (24), 16141-16147. (doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.47.16141).


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The optical consequences of the violation of thermodynamic equilibrium in a crystal are investigated. If this violation occurs it may lead to breaking of time reversibility. As a result of this the internal symmetry of the optical susceptibility tensors changes and new "forbidden" tensor components arise. This gives way to some forbidden specular polarization phenomena in optics, observation of which may be used for diagnostics of the crystal equilibrium. The wave theory of normal reflection from a crystal interface including consideration of the role of the forbidden components is developed. Two mechanisms for forbidden specular polarization effects are identified, one due to the appearance of a contribution to the dielectric tensor which is antisymmetric under interchange of tensor indices, and another associated with the symmetric contribution to the nonlocal optical response. Crystal point group analysis shows that, depending on crystal class, forbidden specular polarization effects may be seen with or without a background of "conventional" optical activity. The physical conditions for their observation are discussed and recent polarization-sensitive experiments in optically excited GaAs crystals are explained in terms of the developed theory. It is also shown how this approach may be used for the description of time-reversal-symmetry-breaking specular optical activity in the superconducting phase of high-Tc cuprate materials.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0163-1829 (print)
Related URLs:
Subjects: Q Science > QC Physics
T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > Optoelectronics Research Centre
ePrint ID: 78502
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2010
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:59

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