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2012 BFY Abstract Detail Page
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||Study of electric dipole and higher multipole radiation via scattering from nanoparticles
||Senior undergraduate and graduate students are hardly ever exposed to an experiment on multipole radiation even though it is taught in lecture courses on electrodynamics and nuclear physics. We have developed a simple laboratory experiment to study the angular distribution and polarization of electric and magnetic dipole radiation. This experiment arose out of studies [Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 217402 (2007); Am. J. Phys. 71, 1294 (2003)] of the contribution of higher order multipoles to optical scattering in aqueous suspensions of 50-200 nm polystyrene spheres and colloids. These studies resulted in the first observation of the breakdown of the electric dipole approximation in the visible region. The students learn about the particle size and wavelength dependence of scattering and how the atomic-molecular scattering is modified by the presence of nanoscatterers. After performing this lab, they can explain why one does not see a (polarized) laser beam in a dark room when looking along its electric field. It is an easily implementable, low cost experiment that is rich in physics.
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Natthi L. Sharma
Eastern Michigan University
Department of Physics and Astronomy
303 Strong Hall
Ernest R. Behringer, Eastern Michigan University, Department of Physics and Astronomy, ebehringe -at- emich.edu, 734-487-8799