Hidden momentum of electrons, nuclei, atoms and molecules

Robert P. Cameron, J. P. Cotter

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We consider the positions and velocities of electrons and spinning nuclei and demonstrate that these particles harbour hidden momentum when located in an electromagnetic field. This hidden momentum is present in all atoms and molecules, however it is ultimately cancelled by the momentum of the electromagnetic field. We point out that an electron vortex in an electric field might harbour a comparatively large hidden momentum and recognise the phenomenon of 'hidden hidden momentum'.
Original languageEnglish
Article number042125
Number of pages6
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2018


  • electrons
  • atoms
  • hidden momentum
  • electromagnetic fields
  • electron vortex
  • molecules

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