Role of momentum and velocity for radiating electrons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
155 Downloads (Pure)


Radiation reaction remains one of the most fascinating open questions in electrodynamics. The development of multi-petawatt laser facilities capable of reaching extreme intensities has leant this topic a new urgency, and it is now more important than ever to properly understand it. Two models of radiation reaction, due to Landau and Lifshitz and to Sokolov, have gained prominence, but there has been little work exploring the relation between the two. We show that in the Sokolov theory electromagnetic fields induce a Lorentz transformation between momentum and velocity, which eliminates some of the counterintuitive results of Landau-Lifshitz. In particular, the Lorentz boost in a constant electric field causes the particle to lose electrostatic potential energy more rapidly than it otherwise would, explaining the long-standing mystery of how an electron can radiate while experience no radiation reaction force. These ideas are illustrated in examples of relevance to astrophysics and laser-particle interactions, where radiation reaction effects are particularly prominent.
Original languageEnglish
Article number045034
Number of pages7
JournalPhysical Review D
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2016


  • radiation reaction
  • Lorentz transformation
  • Sokolov theory
  • astrophysics
  • laser-particle interaction


Dive into the research topics of 'Role of momentum and velocity for radiating electrons'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this