On the electromagnetic force on a dielectric medium

Stephen M. Barnett, Rodney Loudon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

80 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The study of the mechanical effects of light on a dielectric medium has led to two quite distinct forms for the force density: one based on the microscopic distribution of charges and the other on the distribution of atomic dipoles. Both approaches are based directly on the Lorentz force, but it has been suggested that they lead, in a number of cases, to significantly different predictions. In this paper we address this paradoxical situation and show that in the majority of problems the force densities lead to identical results. Where the theories do differ we attempt to determine which of the two descriptions is the more reliable.

LanguageEnglish
PagesS671-S684
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
Volume39
Issue number15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2006

Fingerprint

electromagnetism
Lorentz force
dipoles
predictions

Keywords

  • radiation pressure
  • angular momentum
  • electromagnetic force

Cite this

Barnett, Stephen M. ; Loudon, Rodney. / On the electromagnetic force on a dielectric medium. In: Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics. 2006 ; Vol. 39, No. 15. pp. S671-S684.
@article{50e110fa7a9b479bb575cf1fa951027b,
title = "On the electromagnetic force on a dielectric medium",
abstract = "The study of the mechanical effects of light on a dielectric medium has led to two quite distinct forms for the force density: one based on the microscopic distribution of charges and the other on the distribution of atomic dipoles. Both approaches are based directly on the Lorentz force, but it has been suggested that they lead, in a number of cases, to significantly different predictions. In this paper we address this paradoxical situation and show that in the majority of problems the force densities lead to identical results. Where the theories do differ we attempt to determine which of the two descriptions is the more reliable.",
keywords = "radiation pressure, angular momentum, electromagnetic force",
author = "Barnett, {Stephen M.} and Rodney Loudon",
year = "2006",
month = "8",
day = "14",
doi = "10.1088/0953-4075/39/15/S14",
language = "English",
volume = "39",
pages = "S671--S684",
journal = "Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics",
issn = "0953-4075",
number = "15",

}

On the electromagnetic force on a dielectric medium. / Barnett, Stephen M.; Loudon, Rodney.

In: Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics, Vol. 39, No. 15, 14.08.2006, p. S671-S684.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - On the electromagnetic force on a dielectric medium

AU - Barnett, Stephen M.

AU - Loudon, Rodney

PY - 2006/8/14

Y1 - 2006/8/14

N2 - The study of the mechanical effects of light on a dielectric medium has led to two quite distinct forms for the force density: one based on the microscopic distribution of charges and the other on the distribution of atomic dipoles. Both approaches are based directly on the Lorentz force, but it has been suggested that they lead, in a number of cases, to significantly different predictions. In this paper we address this paradoxical situation and show that in the majority of problems the force densities lead to identical results. Where the theories do differ we attempt to determine which of the two descriptions is the more reliable.

AB - The study of the mechanical effects of light on a dielectric medium has led to two quite distinct forms for the force density: one based on the microscopic distribution of charges and the other on the distribution of atomic dipoles. Both approaches are based directly on the Lorentz force, but it has been suggested that they lead, in a number of cases, to significantly different predictions. In this paper we address this paradoxical situation and show that in the majority of problems the force densities lead to identical results. Where the theories do differ we attempt to determine which of the two descriptions is the more reliable.

KW - radiation pressure

KW - angular momentum

KW - electromagnetic force

U2 - 10.1088/0953-4075/39/15/S14

DO - 10.1088/0953-4075/39/15/S14

M3 - Article

VL - 39

SP - S671-S684

JO - Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics

T2 - Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics

JF - Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics

SN - 0953-4075

IS - 15

ER -