Theoretical analyses of radiation pressure and photon momentum in the past 150 years have focused almost exclusively on classical and/or quantum theories of electrodynamics. In these analyses, Maxwell’s equations, the properties of polarizable and/or magnetizable material media, and the stress tensors of Maxwell, Abraham, Minkowski, Chu, and Einstein-Laub have typically played prominent roles [1-9]. Each stress tensor has subsequently been manipulated to yield its own expressions for the electromagnetic (EM) force, torque, energy, and linear as well as angular momentum densities of the EM field. This paper presents an alternative view of radiation pressure from the perspective of thermal physics, invoking the properties of blackbody radiation in conjunction with empty as well as gas-filled cavities that contain EM energy in thermal equilibrium with the container’s walls. In this type of analysis, Planck’s quantum hypothesis, the spectral distribution of the trapped radiation, the entropy of the photon gas, and Einstein’s 𝐴𝐴 and 𝐵𝐵 coefficients play central roles.
Masud Mansuripur and Pin Han, "Thermodynamics of radiation pressure and photon momentum," Proc. SPIE 10347, Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation XIV, 103471Y (Presented at SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering: August 09, 2017; Published: 25 August 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2274589.
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