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Magneto-electro-optics

Our recent activity concerning magneto-optics can be resumed in two main subjects :

- Magneto-chiral anisotropy: We have been the first to successfully observe this cross-effect between chirality and magnetism, in the optical properties of several materials. Using the insights obtained in this work, we have been subsequently the first to show experimentally that photochemistry with unpolarized light in magnetic field can be enantioselective. These findings now form an important element in the discussion on the homochirality of life. The universal nature of magneto-chiral anisotropy was confirmed by our observation of this effect in the electrical resistance of chiral conductors.

- Magneto-electro-optics: Apart from refraction, linear and circular birefringence, a fourth class of linear optical effects was predicted to exist in 1948. This so-called Jones birefringence was observed for the first time by us in 2000. The birefringence was induced in molecular liquids by parallel electric and magnetic fields. We were also the first to observe the standard magneto-electric linear birefringence, and to show that magneto-electric Jones birefringence and magneto-electric linear birefringence are intimately related. Finally, we have observed a third new magneto-electro-optical effect, the magneto-electric non-reciprocity which corresponds to a difference in the refractive index of unpolarized light propagating parallel or anti-parallel to E x B. The general nature of magneto-electric non-reciprocity was confirmed by our observation of this effect in the electrical resistance of semiconductors in crossed electric and magnetic fields. The universal nature of all these magneto-electro-optical effects was also confirmed by our theoretical work that showed their existence even in the quantum vacuum.

Finally, very recently we have been investigating the Inverse Cotton-Mouton effect and we have been the first to observe it.


For more details, see Publications.


In this section :

Inverse Cotton-Mouton Effect


Publications