The optical Kerr effect (OKE), a well known non-demolition optical method
for the investigation of matter, yields useful information concerning molecular
interactions and local fields in a medium. However, the interpretation of the results
obtained in dense media is beset with many difficulties, especially when it comes to
determine the contributions of different types of molecular interactions to the optically
induced birefringence. Due to the enhancement in sensitivity of our experimental
device,1 OKE measurements in gases and vapours, where the molecular interactions
can be pressure-controlled, have now become feasible.
Here, we report OKE measurements in liquid and gaseous carbon dioxide and
the temperature-dependence of this effect, from which some information concerning
the molecular interactions and local molecular fields of the medium can be obtained.