When electronic excitation transfer occurs, it is of considerable interest to establish whether angular momentum can also be conveyed in the process. The question is prompted by a consideration that when the participating chromophores are atoms, ions, or molecular systems having high local symmetry, the electronic excited states that are involved are generally characterized not only by energy, but by angular momentum properties. Moreover, it is known that electron spin can be communicated between quantum dot exciton states. Resolving the general issue entails an electrodynamic representation exploiting irreducible tensor methods, the analysis being illustrated by application to energy transfer associated with a variety of multipolar transitions. The results exhibit novel connections between an angular momentum content of the electromagnetic coupling and a strongly varying distance dependence. It is concluded that the communication of angular momentum does not in general map unambiguously between a donor and energy acceptor.
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