1 May 2015 Spin dynamics in relativistic light-matter interaction
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Abstract
Various spin effects are expected to become observable in light-matter interaction at relativistic intensities. Relativistic quantum mechanics equipped with a suitable relativistic spin operator forms the theoretical foundation for describing these effects. Various proposals for relativistic spin operators have been offered by different authors, which are presented in a unified way. As a result of the operators’ mathematical properties only the Foldy-Wouthuysen operator and the Pryce operator qualify as possible proper relativistic spin operators. The ground states of highly charged hydrogen-like ions can be utilized to identify a legitimate relativistic spin operator experimentally. Subsequently, the Foldy-Wouthuysen spin operator is employed to study electron-spin precession in high-intensity standing light waves with elliptical polarization. For a correct theoretical description of the predicted electron-spin precession relativistic effects due to the spin angular momentum of the electromagnetic wave has to be taken into account even in the limit of low intensities.
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Heiko Bauke, Sven Ahrens, Christoph H. Keitel, Rainer Grobe, "Spin dynamics in relativistic light-matter interaction", Proc. SPIE 9515, Research Using Extreme Light: Entering New Frontiers with Petawatt-Class Lasers II, 95150L (1 May 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2178191; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2178191
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