Constraining validity of the Minkowski energy-momentum tensor

Pfeifer, Robert N. C., Nieminen, Timo A., Heckenberg, Norman R. and Rubinsztein-Dunlop, Halina (2009) Constraining validity of the Minkowski energy-momentum tensor. Physical Review A, 79 2: 023813-1-023813-7. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.79.023813

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Author Pfeifer, Robert N. C.
Nieminen, Timo A.
Heckenberg, Norman R.
Rubinsztein-Dunlop, Halina
Title Constraining validity of the Minkowski energy-momentum tensor
Journal name Physical Review A   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1050-2947
Publication date 2009-02-10
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1103/PhysRevA.79.023813
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 79
Issue 2
Start page 023813-1
End page 023813-7
Total pages 7
Place of publication College Park, MD, United States
Publisher American Physical Society
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Abstract There exist two popular energy-momentum tensors for an electromagnetic wave in a dielectric medium. The Abraham expression is robust to experimental verification but more mathematically demanding, while the Minkowski expression is the foundation of a number of simplifications commonly found within the literature, including the relative refractive index transformation often used in modeling optical tweezers. These simplifications are based on neglecting the Minkowski tensor’s material counterpart, a process known to be incompatible with conservation of angular momentum, and in conflict with experimental results, yet they are very successful in a wide range of circumstances. This paper combines existing constraints on their usage with recent theoretical analysis to obtain a list of conditions that must be satisfied to safely use the simplified Minkowski approach. Applying these conditions to an experiment proposed by Padgett et al., we find their prediction in agreement with that obtained using the total energy-momentum tensor.
Keyword Angular momentum
Dielectric materials
Laser beams
Radiation pressure
Refractive index
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Erratum: Physical Review A Volume 79 Issue 2 029903(E) (2009) [1 pages] Publisher's Note: Constraining validity of the Minkowski energy-momentum tensor [Phys. Rev. A 79, 023813 (2009)]

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Mathematics and Physics
2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 11 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 11 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 08 Mar 2010, 11:23:16 EST by Jo Hughes on behalf of Physics