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We study the coupling between collective variables of atomic spin and light polarization in an ensemble of cold 87Rb probed with polarized light. The effects of multiple hyperfine levels manifest themselves as a rank-2 tensor polarizability, whose irreducible components can be selected by means of probe detuning. The D1 and D2 lines of Rb are explored and we identify different detunings which lead to Hamiltonians with different symmetries for rotations. As possible applications of thesedoi:10.1103/physreva.77.032316 fatcat:kes6dcpmx5b4jdkpquuq2zaiye