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Journal of the Optical Society of America A

Journal of the Optical Society of America A


  • Editor: Franco Gori
  • Vol. 27, Iss. 11 — Nov. 1, 2010
  • pp: 2468–2479

Oblique superposition of two elliptically polarized lightwaves using geometric algebra: is energy–momentum conserved?

Michelle WynneC. Sze, Quirino M. Sugon, Jr., and Daniel J. McNamara  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA A, Vol. 27, Issue 11, pp. 2468-2479 (2010)

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In this paper, we use Clifford (geometric) algebra C l 3 , 0 to verify if electromagnetic energy–momentum density is still conserved for oblique superposition of two elliptically polarized plane waves with the same frequency. We show that energy–momentum conservation is valid at any time only for the superposition of two counter-propagating elliptically polarized plane waves. We show that the time-average energy–momentum of the superposition of two circularly polarized waves with opposite handedness is conserved regardless of the propagation directions of the waves. And, we show that the resulting momentum density of the superposed waves generally has a vector component perpendicular to the momentum densities of the individual waves.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(260.2110) Physical optics : Electromagnetic optics
(260.3160) Physical optics : Interference
(260.5430) Physical optics : Polarization
(350.7420) Other areas of optics : Waves

ToC Category:
Physical Optics

Original Manuscript: July 29, 2010
Revised Manuscript: September 12, 2010
Manuscript Accepted: September 18, 2010
Published: October 22, 2010

Michelle Wynne C. Sze, Quirino M. Sugon, Jr., and Daniel J. McNamara, "Oblique superposition of two elliptically polarized lightwaves using geometric algebra: is energy–momentum conserved?," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 27, 2468-2479 (2010)

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