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Proceedings Paper

Transfer of optical momentum: reconciliations of the Abraham and Minowski formulations
Author(s): Tomasz M. Grzegorczyk; Brandon A. Kemp
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Paper Abstract

The correct form of electromagnetic wave momentum in matter has been debated in the literature for over a century, with the main candidates being the Minkowski and the Abraham formulations. Recently, a third momentum expression has been proposed, averaging the previous two, and has been argued to be the resolution of the debate. In this paper, we revisit the various formulations and show that the debate has been carried out on a wrong platform: the question is not which momentum expression is right and which is wrong, but which is measurable and which is not. In that regard, experiments have been overwhelmingly in favor of the Minkowski form, which, however, does not discredit the Abraham form as a theoretical concept. The third form of momentum, averaging the previous two, is here argued to be merely the result of a mathematical exercise, which physical assumptions need to be revisited.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 August 2008
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 7038, Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation V, 70381S (29 August 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.798596
Show Author Affiliations
Tomasz M. Grzegorczyk, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Delpsi, LLC (United States)
Brandon A. Kemp, Lexmark International Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7038:
Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation V
Kishan Dholakia; Gabriel C. Spalding, Editor(s)

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