Magnetically induced birefringence (the Cotton–Mouton effect) of argon, neon, and helium atoms was measured with a high-sensitivity ellipsometer with a 790-nm GaAlAs diode laser. The detection limit of the change in ellipticity was attained to a shot-noise-limited value of 10−10 rad. We determined the absolute values of the ellipticity changes caused by noble atoms using the light extinction ratio of the ellipsometer as an absolute standard, with this ratio measured by a method based on Malus’s law. The measured values of the Cotton–Mouton constant were (7.1±2.5)×10−10 T−2 m−1 for He atoms, (1.3±0.5)×10−9 T−2 m−1 for Ne atoms, and (1.1±0.2)×10−8 T−2 m−1 for Ar atoms at a gas pressure of 1.52×105 Pa and a gas temperature of 285–293 K.
© 2003 Optical Society of America
Kazuyuki Muroo, Naoki Ninomiya, Masahiro Yoshino, and Yoshitaka Takubo, "Measurement of the Cotton–Mouton constants of noble atoms," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 20, 2249-2254 (2003)