Nonlinear propagation of light in Dirac matter

Bengt Eliasson, P. K. Shukla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


The nonlinear interaction between intense laser light and a quantum plasma is modeled by a collective Dirac equation coupled with the Maxwell equations. The model is used to study the nonlinear propagation of relativistically intense laser light in a quantum plasma including the electron spin-1/2 effect. The relativistic effects due to the high-intensity laser light lead, in general, to a downshift of the laser frequency, similar to a classical plasma where the relativistic mass increase leads to self-induced transparency of laser light and other associated effects. The electron spin-1/2 effects lead to a frequency upshift or downshift of the electromagnetic (EM) wave, depending on the spin state of the plasma and the polarization of the EM wave. For laboratory solid density plasmas, the spin-1/2 effects on the propagation of light are small, but they may be significant in superdense plasma in the core of white dwarf stars. We also discuss extensions of the model to include kinetic effects of a distribution of the electrons on the nonlinear propagation of EM waves in a quantum plasma.
Original languageEnglish
Article number036401
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2011


  • quantum plasma
  • Dirac equation
  • electromagnetic wave coupling

Cite this