Fr.: polarisabilité moléculaire
The ability of a molecular entity to be distorted from its normal shape by an external → electric field. When a molecule is subjected to an electric field there is a small displacement of electrical centers which induces a dipole in the molecule. More specifically, the molecular polarizability α is defined as the ratio of the induced → dipole moment (p) to the local electric field (E) that produces this dipole moment: α = p/E (in cgse units).