The polarizability anisotropies of homonuclear rare gas diatomic molecules, Ar(2), Kr(2), and Xe(2), are investigated by utilizing the interaction of the induced electric dipole moment with a nonresonant, nanosecond laser pulse. The degree of alignment, which depends on the depth of the interaction potential created by the intense laser field, is measured, and is found to increase in order of Ar(2), Kr(2), and Xe(2) at the same peak intensity. Compared with a reference I(2) molecule, Ar(2), Kr(2), and Xe(2) are found to have the polarizability anisotropies of 0.45 ± 0.13, 0.72 ± 0.13, and 1.23 ± 0.21 Å(3), respectively, where the uncertainties (one standard deviation) in the polarizability anisotropies are carefully evaluated on the basis of the laser intensity dependence of the degree of alignment. The obtained values are compared with recent theoretical calculations and are found to agree well within the experimental uncertainties.
© 2011 American Institute of Physics