Session P5: Coherent Control/Slow and Stopped Light

11:00 AM–1:36 PM, Friday, May 30, 2008
Nittany Lion Inn Room: Boardroom I

Chair: Marin Pichler, Goucher College

Abstract ID: BAPS.2008.DAMOP.P5.5

Abstract: P5.00005 : Orientation of ``asymmetric-top'' water molecules with shaped terahertz fields

11:48 AM–12:00 PM

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  Catherine Herne
    (University of Michigan)

  Philip Bucksbaum
    (Stanford University)

We demonstrate orientation of the asymmetric top water molecule with a programmable series of half-cycle terahertz pulses. Molecular orientation or alignment controls initial conditions and reduces random spatial orientations of molecules, and is essential for efficient generation of high-order harmonics and many other processes. Our experimental evidence confirms what has until now only been theoretically considered; the orientation of asymmetric tops. The application of a sequence of broadband half-cycle pulses to an ensemble of water molecules in the gas phase initiates a sequence of orientation revivals. Two parallel pulses with optimal pulse separation are shown to enhance the degree of orientation and restrict motion about the most polarizable molecular axes.

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