Disentangling X-ray dichroism and birefringence via high-purity polarimetry

Posted on 08.01.2021 - 18:07
High-brilliance synchrotron radiation sources have opened new avenues for X-ray polarization analysis that go far beyond conventional polarimetry in the optical domain. With linear X-ray polarizers in a crossed setting polarization extinction ratios down to 1E-10 can be achieved. This renders the method sensitive to probe tiniest optical anisotropies that would occur, for example, in strong-field QED due to vacuum birefringence and dichroism. Here we show that high-purity polarimetry can be employed to reveal electronic anisotropies in condensed matter systems with utmost sensitivity and spectral resolution. Taking CuO and La₂CuO₄ as benchmark systems, we present a full characterization of the polarization changes across the Cu K-absorption edge and their separation into dichroic and birefringent contributions. At diffraction-limited synchrotron radiation sources and X-ray lasers, where polarization extinction ratios of 1E-12 can be achieved, our method has the potential to assess birefringence and dichroism of the quantum vacuum in extreme electromagnetic fields.

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Schmitt, Annika; Joly, Yves; Schulze, Kai; Marx-Glowna, Berit; Uschmann, Ingo; Grabiger, Benjamin; et al. (2021): Disentangling X-ray dichroism and birefringence via high-purity polarimetry. The Optical Society. Collection. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.5223500.v2
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AUTHORS (10)

Annika Schmitt
Yves Joly
Kai Schulze
Berit Marx-Glowna
Ingo Uschmann
Benjamin Grabiger
Hendrik Bernhardt
Robert Loetzsch
Amelie Juhin
Jérôme Debray

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