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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 16, Iss. 25 — Dec. 8, 2008
  • pp: 20864–20868

On diffraction within a dielectric medium as an example of the Minkowski formulation of optical momentum

Miles J. Padgett  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 16, Issue 25, pp. 20864-20868 (2008)

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The Abraham-Minkowski dilemma relates to the disputed value of the optical momentum within a dielectric medium and whether the free-space value should be divided (Abraham) or multiplied (Minkowski) by the refractive index. Although undoubtedly simplistic, these two approaches provide intuitive insight to many subtle problems in optical physics. This paper reviews a modified version of the Einstein box argument that supports an Abraham formulation, then considers diffraction within a dielectric medium and shows it supports a simple Minkowski formulation, i.e. that the optical momentum should be multiplied by the refractive index.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(050.1940) Diffraction and gratings : Diffraction
(260.2110) Physical optics : Electromagnetic optics

ToC Category:
Diffraction and Gratings

Original Manuscript: October 8, 2008
Revised Manuscript: November 13, 2008
Manuscript Accepted: November 20, 2008
Published: December 2, 2008

Miles J. Padgett, "On diffraction within a dielectric medium as an example of the Minkowski formulation of optical momentum," Opt. Express 16, 20864-20868 (2008)

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