Research ArticlePHYSICS

Rotational Doppler cooling and heating

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Science Advances  06 Jan 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 2, eabd6705
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd6705


Doppler cooling is a widely used technique to laser cool atoms, molecules, and nanoparticles by exploiting the Doppler shift associated with translational motion. The rotational Doppler effect arising from rotational coordinate transformation should similarly enable optical manipulation of the rotational motion of nanosystems. Here, we show that rotational Doppler cooling and heating (RDC and RDH) effects embody rich and unexplored physics, including an unexpected strong dependence on particle morphology. For geometrically constrained particles, cooling and heating are observed at red- or blue-detuned laser frequencies relative to particle resonances. In contrast, for nanosystems that can be modeled as solid particles, RDH appears close to resonant illumination, while detuned frequencies produce cooling of rotation. We further predict that RDH can lead to optomechanical spontaneous chiral symmetry breaking, where an achiral particle under linearly polarized illumination starts spontaneously rotating. Our results open up new exciting possibilities to control the rotational motion of nanosystems.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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