Spontaneous electric fields in solid carbon monoxide

Jerome Lasne, Alexander Rosu-Finsen, Andrew Cassidy, Martin R S McCoustra, David Field

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Abstract

Reflection-absorption infrared spectroscopy (RAIRS) is shown to provide a means of observing the spontelectric phase of matter, the defining characteristic of which is the occurrence of a spontaneous and powerful static electric field within a film of material. The presence of such a field is demonstrated here through the study of longitudinal-transverse optical splitting in RAIR spectra in films of carbon monoxide, based upon the deposition temperature dependence of this splitting. Analysis of spectral data, in terms of the vibrational Stark effect, allows the measurement of the polarization of spontelectric films, showing for example that solid carbon monoxide at 20 K may maintain a spontelectric field of 3.78 × 107 V m-1, representing a polarization of 3.34 × 10-4 C m-2. We comment on the astrophysical implications of polarized carbon monoxide ices, on the surface of cosmic grains in star-forming regions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30177-30187
Number of pages11
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Volume17
Issue number44
Early online date21 Sep 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2015

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