Orientational Dielectric Relaxation of Collisionless Molecules

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  30 Mar 1990:
Vol. 247, Issue 4950, pp. 1572-1575
DOI: 10.1126/science.247.4950.1572

This article has corrections. Please see:


The generation of the orientation component of the polarization of matter in an electric field has previously been thought to require interaction of molecules with their neighbors. It is demonstrated that, even in the absence of collisions between neighboring molecules, hot isolated polyatomic molecules can reorient in response to an external field, thereby giving rise to the orientation component of polarization. This reorientation occurs through the interaction of rotation with molecular vibrations, which provides a heat bath to establish thermal rotational equilibrium. This effect is demonstrated for o-difluorobenzene, o-dichlorobenzene, and p-chlorotoluene, with an inhomogeneous electric field used to deflect molecular beams of these molecules.

Stay Connected to Science