Electric deflection measurements of sodium clusters in a molecular beam
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Rotationally averaged polarizabilities and intrinsic electric dipole moments of sodium clusters are measured and reported. The experimental method is a molecular beam deflection. Our precision is the highest (<5%) and the range of the cluster sizes is the broadest to date (Na₁₀ ∼ Na₃₀₀). Compared to the earlier measurements, our data covers all sizes with no gaps up to the largest cluster. The fine structure in the polarizability curve is previously unobserved. We have carefully ruled out several possible explanations. And we find an earlier existing theory could explain the facts but will lead to magic numbers which were not seen in some previous experiments. A detailed theory is needed to understand the behaviors we see. Intrinsic electric dipole moments (EDM) of sodium clusters are probed to answer the intriguing question: Do metal clusters develop electric dipole moments like molecules? Some theories have predicted the existence of EDM in ground state sodium clusters and gave their magnitudes. We put upper bounds on the EDM of sodium clusters and find that they are orders of magnitude smaller than the predictions. This provokes an interesting question: how can one define metallicity in metal clusters? Our measurements are performed at cryogenic temperature 20 Kelvin. At this temperature the clusters are believed to be in their vibronic ground states.