15 May 2017 On the energy-momentum tensor of light in strong fields: an all optical view of the Abraham-Minkowski controversy
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Abstract
The Abraham-Minkowski controversy is the debate surrounding the correct" form of the energy-momentum tensor of light in a medium. Over a century of theoretical and experimental studies have consistently produced conflicting results, with no consensus being found on how best to describe the influence of a material on the propagation of light. It has been argued that the total energy-momentum tensor for each of the theories, which includes both wave and material components, are equal. The difficulty in separating the full energy-momentum tensor is generally attributed to the fact that one cannot obtain the energy-momentum tensor of the medium for real materials. Non-linear electrodynamics provides an opportunity to approach the debate from an all optical set up, where the role of the medium is replaced by the vacuum under the influence of a strong background field. We derive, from first principles, the general form of the energy-momentum tensor in such theories, and use our results to shed some light on this long standing issue.
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Alexander J. Macleod, Adam Noble, Dino A. Jaroszynski, "On the energy-momentum tensor of light in strong fields: an all optical view of the Abraham-Minkowski controversy", Proc. SPIE 10234, Relativistic Plasma Waves and Particle Beams as Coherent and Incoherent Radiation Sources II, 102340F (15 May 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2269630; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2269630
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