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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 16, Iss. 19 — Sep. 15, 2008
  • pp: 14821–14835

Electromagnetic force and torque in ponderable media

Masud Mansuripur  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 16, Issue 19, pp. 14821-14835 (2008)

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Maxwell’s macroscopic equations combined with a generalized form of the Lorentz law of force are a complete and consistent set of equations. Not only are these five equations fully compatible with special relativity, they also conform with conservation laws of energy, momentum, and angular momentum. We demonstrate consistency with the conservation laws by showing that, when a beam of light enters a magnetic dielectric, a fraction of the incident linear (or angular) momentum pours into the medium at a rate determined by the Abraham momentum density, E × H/c2, and the group velocity V g of the electromagnetic field. The balance of the incident, reflected, and transmitted momenta is subsequently transferred to the medium as force (or torque) at the leading edge of the beam, which propagates through the medium with velocity V g . Our analysis does not require “hidden” momenta to comply with the conservation laws, nor does it dissolve into ambiguities with regard to the nature of electromagnetic momentum in ponderable media. The linear and angular momenta of the electromagnetic field are clearly associated with the Abraham momentum, and the phase and group refractive indices (n p and n g ) play distinct yet definitive roles in the expressions of force, torque, and momentum densities.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(140.7010) Lasers and laser optics : Laser trapping
(260.2110) Physical optics : Electromagnetic optics
(160.3918) Materials : Metamaterials

ToC Category:
Optical Trapping and Manipulation

Original Manuscript: August 6, 2008
Revised Manuscript: August 27, 2008
Manuscript Accepted: August 28, 2008
Published: September 5, 2008

Virtual Issues
Vol. 3, Iss. 11 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

Masud Mansuripur, "Electromagnetic force and torque in ponderable media," Opt. Express 16, 14821-14835 (2008)

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