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Proceedings Paper

Mechanical effects of light on material media: radiation pressure and the linear and angular momenta of photons
Author(s): Masud Mansuripur
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Paper Abstract

Electromagnetic waves carry energy as well as linear and angular momenta. Interactions between light and material media typically involve the exchange of all three entities. In all such interactions energy and momentum (both linear and angular) are conserved. Johannes Kepler seems to have been the first person to notice that the pressure of sunlight is responsible for the tails of the comets pointing away from the Sun. Modern applications of radiation pressure and photon momentum include solar sails, optical tweezers for optical trapping and micro-manipulation, and optically-driven micro-motors and actuators. This paper briefly describes certain fundamental aspects underlying the mechanical properties of light, and examines several interesting phenomena involving the linear and angular momenta of photons.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 September 2014
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 9186, Fifty Years of Optical Sciences at The University of Arizona, 91860S (5 September 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2063432
Show Author Affiliations
Masud Mansuripur, College of Optical Sciences, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9186:
Fifty Years of Optical Sciences at The University of Arizona
Harrison H. Barrett; John E. Greivenkamp; Eustace L. Dereniak, Editor(s)

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