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Exciting electronic motion via polarized photons

  1. Sep 20, 2012 #1

    In introductory atomic physics one usually goes through the classical derivation of the Zeeman effect, where one finds that an electron in a magnetic field can have three different kinds of motion: along the B-field with frequency ω and rotating CW/CCW with ω±Ω. Polarized photons can excite this motion, depending on their polarization.

    OK, so the system I am thinking of can be descirbed by a coordinate system (x, y, z) satisfying the right-hand rule, where B || z, E || x and k || y (k is the propagation vector of the incident E-field). So the polarization is ortogonal to the quantization axis.

    Looking down from +x to -x, circular electronic motion around B (i.e., σ±) looks linear. Is it correct to say that since this is the case, the incoming photons will excite this motion, and thus generate circularly polarized light?

  2. jcsd
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