Anisotropy of molecules

Raman, C. V. (1922) Anisotropy of molecules Nature, 109 (2725). pp. 75-76. ISSN 0028-0836

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Direct evidence that the molecules of gases are not spherically symmetrical and are anisotropic in their properties is furnished by the recent experiments of Lord Rayleigh, who has shown that the light scattered by molecules is, in general, not completely polarised when observed in a direction transverse to the pencil of light traversing the gas. The method used by Rayleigh, and by those who have repeated the experiments establishing this effect is a photographic one, the track of the primary beam of light as viewed through a suitably oriented prism of Iceland spar being recorded on a plate with long exposures. In view of the great interest of the phenomenon, it occurred to the present writer that it would be worth while to attempt direct visual observation and measurement of its magnitude. The chief obstacle is, of course, the extreme feebleness of the unpolarised part of the transversely scattered light. This has, however, been successfully overcome. By using the strongest possible illumination (sunlight), securing a perfectly black background, and very carefully screening the eye from extraneous light, it has been found possible to detect with dust-free air at atmospheric pressure the non-extinction of the track as seen through a nicol at any orientation. With carbon dioxide the effect is quite conspicuous, and visual determinations of its magnitude have been successfully made by Mr. K. R. Ramanathan working in the present writer's laboratory.

Item Type:Article
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Deposited On:04 Aug 2011 07:28
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