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Proceedings Paper

Two controversies in classical electromagnetism
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Paper Abstract

This paper examines two controversies arising within classical electromagnetism which are relevant to the optical trapping and micromanipulation community. First is the Abraham-Minkowski controversy, a debate relating to the form of the electromagnetic energy-momentum tensor in dielectric materials, with implications for the momentum of a photon in dielectric media. A wide range of alternatives exist, and experiments are frequently proposed to attempt to discriminate between them. We explain the resolution of this controversy and show that regardless of the electromagnetic energy-momentum tensor chosen, when material disturbances are also taken into account the predicted behaviour will always be the same. The second controversy, known as the plane wave angular momentum paradox, relates to the distribution of angular momentum within an electromagnetic wave. The two competing formulations are reviewed, and an experiment is discussed which is capable of distinguishing between the two.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 September 2006
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 6326, Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation III, 63260H (11 September 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.678953
Show Author Affiliations
Robert N. C. Pfeifer, The Univ. of Queensland (Australia)
Timo A. Nieminen, The Univ. of Queensland (Australia)
Norman R. Heckenberg, The Univ. of Queensland (Australia)
Halina Rubinsztein-Dunlop, The Univ. of Queensland (Australia)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6326:
Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation III
Kishan Dholakia; Gabriel C. Spalding, Editor(s)

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