Abstract

The classical theoretical treatment of the Kerr effect is reexamined. This classical theory is in some respects general with regard to the polarizability; little symmetry is assumed, and permanent dipoles are allowed. However, an approximation is made that restricts its application to cases in which saturation effects are negligible. It is shown here that this approximation is in fact unnecessary for the common special case of particles with an axis of symmetry but without a permanent dipole moment. Thus the classical theory of the Kerr effect for this special case is extended to include saturation effects. (These occur when the electrical potential energy of alignment is not extremely small when compared with thermal energies.)

© 1985 Optical Society of America

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