Self-force on a charged particle in an external scalar field

Adam Noble, David A Burton, Lauren Docherty, Dino A Jaroszynski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


A charged particle subject to strong external forces will accelerate, and so radiate energy, inducing a self-force. This phenomenon remains contentious, but advances in laser technology mean we will soon encounter regimes where a more complete understanding is essential. The terms "self-force" and "radiation reaction" are often used synonymously, but reflect different aspects of the recoil force. For a particle accelerating in an electromagnetic field, radiation reaction is usually the dominant self-force, but in a scalar field this is not the case, and the total effect of the self-force can be anti-frictional. Aspects of this self-force can be recast in terms of spacetime geometry, and this interpretation illuminates the long-standing enigma of a particle radiating while experiencing no self-force.
Original languageEnglish
Article number115007
Number of pages9
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2021


  • self-force
  • radiation reaction
  • scalar fields


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