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Department of Physics

2008

Lecture notes and tutorial problems of the

undergraduate course

PHYS3050/PHYS7051

ELECTROMAGNETIC THEORY III

Lecturer: Zbigniew Ficek

Physics Annexe(6): Rm 436

Ph: 3365 2331

email: ﬁcek@physics.uq.edu.au

http://www.physics.uq.edu.au/people/ﬁcek/

Consultation Hours: Wednesday 2pm – 4pm

Preface

This lecture notes covers the principal elements of classical electromagnetic

theory embodying Maxwell’s equations with applications mainly to situations

where electric charge can be treated as a continuous ﬂuid. The intention is

to introduce students to the background of classical ﬁeld theory and the

applications of the electromagnetic theory to solid state physics, classical

optics, radiation theory and telecommunication.

The goal of this course is to provide a compact logical exposition of the

fundamentals of the electromagnetic theory and the applications to various

areas of physics and engineering. The treatment is quantitative throughout

and an attempt has been made to imbue students with a sound understanding

of the Maxwell’s equations and with the ability to apply them to modern

problems in physics.

The organization of the lectures is fairly standard and includes vector

analysis, electrostatic, magnetostatic, mathematical techniques in the solu-

tion of the Maxwell’s equations and the Laplace’s equation, time varying

ﬁelds and applications of the solution of the Maxwell’s equations. The ma-

terial on vector analysis gives greater emphasis to the relationship between

ﬁelds and their sources.

A number of revision questions have been included at the end of each

chapter. These questions have been designed not only to point out to the

student the essential material of the chapter but also to test the students’

understanding of the material presented in the chapter. In addition, tutorial

problems have been included at the end of the chapters that contain the

most important elements of the electromagnetic theory. These problems

will be discussed and solved in details during the tutorial sessions, but it

is hoped that the student will attack these problems before attending the

tutorial session.

2

Contents

1 The Classical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field 13

1.1 Elementary Aspects of Electromagnetism . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

1.2 Macroscopic Charges and Currents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

1.2.1 Charge Density . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

1.2.2 Current density . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

Revision questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

2 Mathematical Description of Vector Fields 20

2.1 Gradient of a Scalar Function . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

2.2 Divergence Function . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

2.3 The Flux of a Vector Field . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

2.4 Gauss’s Divergence Theorem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

2.5 The Continuity Equation for Electric Current . . . . . . . . . 25

2.6 Curl (Rotation) Function . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

2.7 Stokes’s Theorem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

2.8 Successive Application of ∇ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

Revision questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

Tutorial problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

3 Vectorial Equations in Electromagnetism: Scalar and Vector

Potentials 34

3.1 Maxwell’s Equations, an Example of Vectorial Equations . . . 34

3.2 Scalar Potential . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

3.3 Vector Potential . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

Revision questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

Tutorial problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

4 The Experimental Basis of the Development of Electromag-

netic Theory 41

4.1 Coulomb’s Law – Force between Static Charges . . . . . . . . 41

4.2 Gauss’s Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

4.3 Biot-Savart Law – Force between Static Currents . . . . . . . 49

4.4 Current Element and Charge Element . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

4.5 The Lorentz Force . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

4.6 Amperes Circuit Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

4.7 Faraday’s Law of Electromagnetic Induction . . . . . . . . . . 55

3

Revision questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57

Tutorial problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58

5 Diﬀerential Equations for the EM Field and Maxwell’s The-

ory 61

5.1 Diﬀerential Equations for the EM Field . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

5.1.1 Divergence of

E . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

5.1.2 Curl of

E . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

5.1.3 Divergence of

B . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63

5.1.4 Curl of

B . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63

5.2 The Maxwell’s Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64

Revision questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68

Tutorial problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68

6 Maxwell’s Equations and Prediction

of Electromagnetic Waves 69

6.1 The Wave Equation for EM Waves in Vacuum . . . . . . . . . 70

6.2 Plane Wave Solution to the Wave Equation . . . . . . . . . . . 71

6.3 Harmonic Waves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73

6.4 The Transverse Nature of Plane Waves in Vacuum . . . . . . . 74

Revision questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78

Tutorial problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78

7 EM Theory and Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity 80

7.1 Lorentz Transformation Equations for Space and Time . . . . 81

7.2 Force Transformation Equations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82

7.2.1 The Force between Two Charges Moving with Con-

stant Velocities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83

7.3 Electric Field Lines of a Moving Charge . . . . . . . . . . . . 87

7.4 Magnetic Field Lines of a Moving Charge . . . . . . . . . . . . 88

7.5 Invariance of the Maxwell equations under the Lorentz trans-

formation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89

7.5.1 Remark on the Electromagnetic Induction . . . . . . . 95

Revision questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98

8 Energy in the Electromagnetic Field:

Poyntings’ Theorem 99

4

8.1 Rate of Doing Work by the Field on the Current – Ohmic

Heating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101

8.2 Electrostatic Field Energy Density . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102

8.3 Magnetostatic Field Energy Density . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103

8.4 Poynting Vector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103

8.5 Phase Relationships in EM Waves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105

8.6 Momentum Flux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105

8.7 EM Energy Flow: Circuit versus Field Theory . . . . . . . . . 106

8.7.1 Energy Flow in a Resistive Wire . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106

8.7.2 Energy Flow out of Battery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108

8.7.3 Propagation of an Electromagnetic Wave along a Wire 109

Revision questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111

Tutorial problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111

9 Solution of Laplace’s Equation and Boundary Value Problem112

9.1 Uniqueness of the Solution of Laplace’s Equation . . . . . . . 113

9.1.1 Dirichlet Theorem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113

9.2 Solutions of Laplace’s Equation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114

9.2.1 Method of Separation of Variables . . . . . . . . . . . . 115

9.2.2 Solution of the Laplace Equation in Spherical Coordi-

nates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122

Revision questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133

Tutorial problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134

10 General Solution of the Maxwell’s Equations 138

10.1 Diﬃculty of the Direct Solution of Maxwell’s Equations . . . . 138

10.2 Scalar and Vector Potentials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140

10.2.1 Lorenz Gauge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142

10.2.2 Coulomb Gauge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143

10.3 Solution of the Inhomogeneous Wave Equations . . . . . . . . 145

10.4 Rigorous Solution: Green Functions Method . . . . . . . . . . 148

Revision questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150

11 Electromagnetic Antennas: Hertzian Dipole 152

11.1 Generation of electromagnetic waves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154

11.1.1 Field of an Element of Alternating Current . . . . . . . 154

11.2 Power Radiated from the Current Element . . . . . . . . . . . 161

11.3 Gain of the Dipole Antenna . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163

5

Revision questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165

12 Electromagnetic Theory of Polarizable

Materials 166

12.1 Potential and Electric Field of a Single Dipole . . . . . . . . . 167

12.2 Polarization Vector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168

12.3 Maxwell’s Equation for ∇

E in a Dielectric . . . . . . . . . . 171

12.4 Macroscopic Eﬀects of the Polarizability . . . . . . . . . . . . 173

12.5 Dense Dielectrics: The Clausius-Mossotti Relation . . . . . . . 176

12.6 Dielectric in a Time Dependent Field . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178

12.7 The Complex Susceptibility and Permitivity . . . . . . . . . . 182

12.8 The Loss Tangent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185

Revision questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187

Tutorial problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187

13 Electromagnetic Theory of Magnetizable Materials 190

13.1 Magnetic Polarization Currents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190

13.2 The Magnetic Intensity Vector

H . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195

13.2.1 Static Magnetic Fields . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196

13.3 Linear Magnetic Materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197

13.4 Non-Linear Magnetic Materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200

13.4.1 Work done in magnetization of iron . . . . . . . . . . . 201

13.5 Permanent Magnetic Materials: Ferromagnets . . . . . . . . . 202

13.5.1

B and

H ﬁelds of a ferromagnet . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203

13.5.2 Magnetic Poles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205

13.6 Time Dependent Magnetic Fields and Energy Loss . . . . . . 207

13.7 The complex magnetic susceptibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 208

13.8 Maxwell’s Equations in Dielectric and Magnetic Materials . . 209

Revision questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 210

Tutorial problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 212

14 Poynting’s Theorem Revisited 214

14.1 Poynting Vector in Terms of

E and

H . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214

14.2 Poynting Vector for Complex Sinusoidal Fields . . . . . . . . . 216

Revision questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219

6

15 Plane Wave Propagation in Dielectric and Magnetic Media 220

15.1 Dispersive Equation and Complex Propagation Number . . . . 222

15.2 Wave Refraction and Attenuation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225

15.2.1 Propagation of an EM wave in a low loss dielectric . . 225

15.2.2 Propagation of an EM Wave in a Good Conductor . . 227

15.2.3 Skin Eﬀect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229

Revision questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231

Tutorial problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231

16 Transitions Across Boundaries for Electromagnetic Fields 234

16.1 Normal Components of the Fields . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 234

16.1.1 Normal Component of

B . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 234

16.1.2 Normal Component of

H . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 236

16.1.3 Normal Component of

D and

E . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237

16.2 Tangential Components of the Fields . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237

16.2.1 Tangential Component of

E . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 238

16.2.2 Tangential Component of

H . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 240

16.2.3 Tangential component of

B . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 240

Revision questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242

Tutorial problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242

17 Propagation of an EM Wave Across a Boundary 244

17.1 Representation of Plane Waves in Diﬀerent Directions . . . . . 245

17.1.1 Representation of

B in terms of

E . . . . . . . . . . . . 246

17.2 Directions of Reﬂected and Transmitted Waves . . . . . . . . 247

17.3 Angle of Reﬂection and Snell’s Law of Refraction . . . . . . . 252

Revision questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 253

18 Fresnel’s Equations 254

18.1

E

i

normal to plane of incidence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 255

18.2

E

i

in the plane of incidence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 257

18.3 Fresnel Equations for dielectric media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 258

Revision questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 260

Tutorial problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261

19 Applications of the Boundary Conditions and the Fresnel

Equations 262

19.1 Applications in dielectrics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 262

7

19.1.1 Polarization by reﬂection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 262

19.1.2 Total internal reﬂection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264

19.2 Transmission and Reﬂection at a Conducting

Surface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267

19.2.1 Field vectors at normal incidence . . . . . . . . . . . . 269

Revision questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 271

Tutorial problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 272

20 Propagation of an EM Wave in a Rectangular Waveguide 273

20.1 Transverse Electric (TE) Modes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275

20.2 Boundary Conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278

20.3 TE Modes in a Lossless Waveguide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 280

20.4 Phase and Group Velocities of Mode Propagation . . . . . . . 283

Revision questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 286

21 Relativistic Transformation of the Electromagnetic Field 287

21.1 The Principle of Relativity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 287

21.2 Transformation of Electric and Magnetic Field Components . 293

21.3 Transformation Rules in Terms of Parallel and Normal Com-

ponents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 294

21.3.1 Rules for Parallel Components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 295

21.3.2 Rules for Normal Components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 295

21.4 Transformation of the Components

of a Plane EM Wave . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 297

21.5 Doppler Eﬀect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 299

21.6 Transformation of Energy of a Plane EM Wave . . . . . . . . 301

Revision questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 303

Tutorial problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 304

Revision Questions for the Final Examination 306

Appendix A: Proof of the Amperes law 312

Appendix B: Proof of the vector theorem, Eq. (73) 314

Appendix C: PHYS3050 Facts and Formulae 315

8

Literature

1. J.D. Jackson, Classical Electrodynamics, 3rd ed. Wiley 1999.

The course is aimed at this level of treatment.

2. R.K. Wangsness, Electromagnetic Fields, 2nd ed. Wiley 1986.

This is an alternative textbook for the course.

3. R. Plonsey and R.E. Collin, Principles and Applications of Elec-

tromagnetic Fields, McGraw Hill 1961.

This is a good general text on electromagnetic ﬁelds.

4. B.I. Bleaney and B. Bleaney, Electricity and Magnetism, 3rd ed.

Oxford U.P. 1983.

A very readable book ranging over circuit theory, electronics, electric

properties of matter and ﬁeld theory.

5. J.A. Stratton, Electromagnetic Theory, McGraw Hill, 1941.

This is a very comprehensive reference on electromagnetic theory.

6. W.K.H. Panofsky and M. Phillips, Classical Electricity and Mag-

netism, 2nd ed. Addison-Wesley 1962.

This is a good text on the relativistic representation of electromag-

netism.

7. R.P. Feynman, R.B. Leighton, and M. Sands, The Feynaman

Lectures on Physics, Vol. 2, Addison Wesley, 1964.

A good reference to the physics of the emission of radiation.

9

”To anyone who is motivated by anything

beyond the most narrowly practical,

it is worthwhile to understand Maxwell’s equations

simply for the good of his soul”

− J.R. Pierce

11

1 The Classical Theory of the Electromag-

netic Field

Classical theory of the electromagnetic ﬁeld or Classical Electrodynamics,

formulated by Maxwell more than 100 years ago, is now a well established

theory with many applications in diﬀerent areas of physics, chemistry and en-

gineering. In this context ‘classical’ means ‘non-quantum’, but we would

like to point out that the basic equations of electromagnetism, the Maxwell’s

equations, hold equally in quantum and classical ﬁeld theory.

We begin the study of the electromagnetic theory with a brief review of the

elementary aspects of electromagnetism that the student learnt in the ﬁrst

year PHYS1002 course. These aspects are in fact about the microscopic

nature of the electromagnetic theory. To indicate the classical approach to

the electromagnetic theory and the macroscopic nature of electromagnetic

phenomena we are going to explore in this lecture notes, we ﬁrst introduce

the concept of macroscopic distributions of charges and currents, i.e. we

deﬁne volume, surface and linear charge densities. Next, we will introduce

the concept of the current density and a total (macroscopic) current.

1.1 Elementary Aspects of Electromagnetism

In many textbooks on electromagnetism, the elementary aspects of electro-

magnetism are introduced as postulates. In fact, they are based on experi-

mental observations, and we will explore this fact in full details in one of the

lectures. At this introductory lecture, let us review brieﬂy the elementary

aspects of electromagnetism that are:

1. Electromagnetic interactions are ONE of FOUR fundamental types:

1

Type of interaction Relative Strength

Strong interaction (nuclear) 1

Electromagnetic 10

−2

Weak interaction (e.g. β decay) 10

−12

Gravitation 10

−40

1

At our level of discussion there is no relation between these four types of interaction,

i.e. they cannot be considered as diﬀerent manifestations of a single FORCE.

13

2. Electromagnetic (EM) forces or interactions are due to ELECTRIC

CHARGE, which is NOT in turn explicable in terms of anything else.

3. Charges are of two kinds called positive and negative. In the static

limit like charges repel and unlike attract.

4. Charges are quantized in units of e · 1.6 10

−19

[Coulombs].

5. In the static limit the inverse square (Coulomb) law of force holds:

F

q

2

=

1

4πε

0

q

2

q

1

r

2

ˆ r ,

ˆ r

q

1

−→q

2

,

that the charge q

1

acts on the charge q

2

with the force

F

q

2

. The force

acts along the distance r and the parameter ε

0

determines the property

of the medium and is called the electric permittivity.

The Coulomb’s law holds for microscopic charges, i.e. it holds

only for charges whose the spatial dimensions are small com-

pared with the distance separating them.

The Coulomb’s law does not tell us how the ﬁrst charge knows the

other one is present. One usually assumes that the charge produces an

electric ﬁeld which then interacts with the other charges. To express

this explicitly, the Coulomb force is often written as

F

q

2

= q

2

E

q

1

,

where

E

q

1

is the electric ﬁeld produced by the charge q

1

.

The Coulomb law can be tested to great accuracy indirectly by showing

that no charge rests on the inside of a statically charged hollow con-

ductor.

2

2

S.J. Plimpton and W.E. Lawton, Phys. Rev. 50, 1066 (1936).

14

If the exponent in the Coulomb’s law for point charges

E ∼

1

r

n

is not n = 2 but n = 2(1±), the potential inside the hollow conductor

would be large. Since the potential inside the hollow conductor found

by the experiments was less in magnitude than a small detectable po-

tential, then · 10

−9

, the level of sensitivity of the detector.

6. Electric charge is conserved (algebraically)

¸

whole universe

q = constant

7. In the NON-STATIC case, i.e. the case of moving charges, the force is

no longer given by Coulomb’s Law. It is given by the Lorentz equation

F

q

2

= q

2

(

E +v

B) ,

where

E and

B are the electric and magnetic ﬁelds due to q

1

, and v is

the velocity of the charge q

2

.

8. In the electromagnetic theory, we assume that the ﬁelds

E and

B de-

pend on the frame of reference of the observer, that

E,

B and the

force

F must follow the required relativistic transformation law.

However, we do not think that q depends on the frame of reference.

i.e. q does not depend on its velocity with respect to an observer. In

terms of the relativistic theory, the charge is invariant under the Lorentz

transformation.

3

The student has noticed that the Lorentz force involves both, the electric and

magnetic ﬁelds. Why there must be a

B and how

E and

B are computed for

3

This is because in ordinary matter electrons move much faster than ions, their speeds

depend on temperature, and electric ﬁelds are not observed to arise from changes in

temperature.

15

arbitrary motion of charges is the substance of electromagnetic theory.

We now have the following picture of the basis of the electromagnetic theory:

1. CHARGE 1 =⇒

ELECTROMAGNETIC

FIELD =⇒

FORCE ON

CHARGE 2

2. Fields are generated by charges - NOT by other ﬁelds.

1.2 Macroscopic Charges and Currents

We know from the Millikan experiment that electric charge is quantized. The

electron is a point charge on the smallest scale measurable. We may then

speak, on a subatomic scale, of a microscopic theory of electromagnetism. On

a subatomic scale there must be very strong and rapidly varying electric and

magnetic ﬁelds on spatial scales ∼ 10

−8

m and temporal scales ∼ 10

−10

s.

When we measure the ﬁelds around a macroscopic circuit, clearly we are

not looking at these ﬁelds. We are measuring ﬁelds on distance scales much

larger than 10

−8

m and time scales much longer than 10

−10

s.

In the macroscopic context, we do not distinguish individual charges. It is

convenient and justiﬁable to regard the charge as a continuous ”ﬂuid” dis-

tributed over the volume or surface of a charged material.

Thus, we may introduce the concept of macroscopic charges and currents to

indicate the macroscopic nature of electromagnetic phenomena.

1.2.1 Charge Density

Charges may be distributed throughout the volume of a material, or on the

surface of the material, or may be distributed along one dimensional wires.

Thus, there are diﬀerent spatial distributions of charges considered in the

electromagnetic theory that result in three types of charge densities: volume

charge density, surface charge density and linear charge density.

16

When we encounter a large number of point charges in a ﬁnite volume, it

is convenient to describe the source in terms of a volume charge density,

deﬁned as

ρ = lim

Σq

∆V

,

where Σq is the algebraic sum of the charge in the volume ∆V .

The limit is not to zero, but to a ∆V much larger than atomic scale size,

which is still very small on the laboratory scale.

If the volume charge density is represented by a continuous function ρ(r),

the total charge Q in a volume V is given by

Q =

V

ρ(r) dV .

Note that the charge density is a function of the position which varies smoothly

inside a charged material. An exception is a boundary between two charged

materials where ρ may change discontinuously due to the presence of surface

charges of a non-zero density. Thus, we may introduce the concept of surface

charge density.

A surface charge density is deﬁned, analogously to the volume charge den-

sity, as

σ = lim

Σq

∆S

,

where Σq is the algebraic sum of the charge on the surface ∆S.

Then, the total charge continously distributed on a surface S is

Q

S

=

S

σ(r) dS .

In the same fasion, we may deﬁne a linear charge density on a length ∆L

γ = lim

Σq

∆L

,

and then the total linear charge continously distributed on a length L is

Q

L

=

L

γdL .

17

1.2.2 Current density

For many purposes in the electromagnetic theory, it will be necessary to

introduce the concept of current density.

Figure 1: Illustration of the current

ﬂow through an area A and the evalua-

tion of the current density through the

area A.

It measures the amount of current ﬂowing

through an area normal to the direction

of the current.

We deﬁne the current density in the fol-

lowing way. Let I

A

= ∂q/∂t is a current

through the area A, as shown in Figure 1.

Then the current density, normal to the

area A is deﬁned by

J = lim

I

A

ˆ n = lim

δq

δt A

ˆ n

= lim

ρ Av δt

δt A

ˆ n = ρv ,

where v = vˆ n, and ˆ n is the unit vector

normal to the area A, and the limit is

taken in the same sense as for ρ.

Total current through an arbitrary surface area

For a surface of an arbitrary shape, the current may not be normal to the

surface at all points on the surface.

Figure 2: Illustration of evaluation of the

current density through an area A. The

vector ˆ n is a unit vector normal to the sur-

face element dA.

However, if the current density

J is

known at all very small areas, that

can be approximated by ﬂat surfaces of

a macroscopic surface A, we still can

obtain the total current through the

area A.

Consider a current density

J through

a macroscopic area A, as shown in

Figure 2. To ﬁnd the total current

through the area, we ﬁrst divide the

area A into a lot of small ﬂat areas dA,

18

and ﬁnd the current through dA as

4

δI =

J ˆ ndA = J cos(θ)dA .

Then the current through the total area A is the sum of the contributions

from all the small elements of the area:

I

A

=

δI =

A

J ˆ n dA =

A

J d

A ,

where d

**A = dAˆ n is a vector representing the element dA of the surface A.
**

Note: In vector analysis it is common to represent a surface by a vector

whose length corresponds to the magnitude of the surface area and whose

the direction is speciﬁed by the unit vector ˆ n normal to the surface.

In summary, Electromagnetic theory formulated in terms of space depen-

dent quantities, charge densities ρ, σ or γ, and current density

J is regarded

as a MACROSCOPIC THEORY.

Revision questions

Question 1. What are the elementary aspects of electromagnetism?

Question 2. How do we deﬁne volume, surface and linear charge densities?

Question 3. How do we deﬁne and evaluate the current density through an area?

Question 4. If the current density through an area is known, how does the

current through the area is evaluated?

4

In literature, very often small areas that a macroscopic area is divided to are called

elementary areas or elementary surfaces.

19

2 Mathematical Description of Vector Fields

The study of electromagnetic theory requires considerable knowledge of vec-

tor analysis. In this lecture, we will introduce vector operations such as

gradient, divergence and curl that we will need for our study of electromag-

netic theory. As we shall see, these vector operations are very convenient to

determine the properties of electromagnetic ﬁeld, also considerably simplify

the formulation of electromagnetic theory and allow get a better inside into

electromagnetic phenomena.

2.1 Gradient of a Scalar Function

Let us ﬁrst deﬁne a vector operation: Gradient of a scalar function. Assume

that a function Φ represents a scalar ﬁeld and that Φ is a single valued, con-

tinuous, and diﬀerentiable function of position. Let dΦ represents a change

of Φ with a distance ds.

Figure 3: Illustration of the

evaluation of gradient of a scalar

function Φ.

The gradient of the scalar function Φ is

deﬁned as:

grad Φ ≡ ∇Φ =

∂Φ

∂s

ˆ n ,

where ˆ n is a unit vector in the direction

the rate ∂Φ/∂s has its maximum value. In

other words, gradient tells us in which

direction the change in Φ is maxi-

mal.

For some other direction d

X, a change of Φ can

be found by projection of gradient of Φ on d

X:

dΦ = ∇Φ d

X =

∂Φ

∂s

ˆ n d

X =

∂Φ

∂s

cos θ dX .

We know from the vector analysis that it is convenient to represent a vec-

tor in a reference (coordinate) frame. Commonly used are the rectangular

(cartesian) coordinates, in which we can easily ﬁnd that the x component of

20

the gradient is

(∇Φ)

x

= ∇Φ

ˆ

i =

∂Φ

∂s

ˆ n

ˆ

i =

∂Φ

∂s

cos θ

= lim

δΦ

δ(s/ cos θ)

= lim

δΦ

δx

=

∂Φ

∂x

.

Similarly, the y and z components of the gradient are

(∇Φ)

y

=

∂Φ

∂y

, (∇Φ)

z

=

∂Φ

∂z

.

Hence, in cartesian coordinates, the gradient of a scalar function Φ can be

written as

5

∇Φ =

∂Φ

∂x

ˆ

i +

∂Φ

∂y

ˆ

j +

∂Φ

∂z

ˆ

k .

The gradient is analogous to multiplication of a vector by a scalar. The re-

sult, of course, is a vector.

6

Remember: Mathematically, gradient of an arbitrary scalar function is a

vector that is pointing in the direction of maximal changes of the function.

Exercise in class:

Consider a scalar function Φ = x. Calculate the gradient

of Φ = x.

Solution: Since

∂Φ

∂x

= 1 and

∂Φ

∂y

=

∂Φ

∂z

= 0 ,

we ﬁnd that

∇Φ =

∂x

∂x

ˆ

i +

∂x

∂y

ˆ

j +

∂x

∂z

ˆ

k =

ˆ

i .

This exercise explicitly shows that gradient is a vector pointing in the direc-

tion of maximal changes in Φ.

5

Expressions for the gradient in other coordinate systems are given in the Appendix C.

6

We do not usually take a gradient of a vector, the result would be a tensor.

21

The student should be able now to give a quick answer to simple questions

as ”Is gradient a scalar or a vector?” or ”In which direction does gradient of

a given scalar function point?” A practical test: Try to give the answer to

the following question without any calculations: What is the direction of the

gradient of a scalar function Φ = x + y?

2.2 Divergence Function

We have already deﬁned the nabla operator and showed how it evaluates a

certain property of a scalar function. We now deﬁne the divergence function,

which involves the nabla operator and, as we shall see, tells us about the ﬂow

of a vector ﬁeld and its sources.

Deﬁnition of divergence:

The divergence is the scalar function which results from operation

of ∇ upon a vector

F in a fashion analogous to the dot product of

two vectors. The result is a scalar function.

In Cartesian coordinates, the divergence function is written as

7

div

F ≡ ∇

F =

∂F

x

∂x

+

∂F

y

∂y

+

∂F

z

∂z

.

Properties: A positive divergence means that there is a source of a vector

ﬁeld, and a negative divergence means the presence of a sink of the ﬁeld.

When ∇

F = 0 everywhere, the ﬁeld

F is called solenoidal, since no start-

ing points or sources can be assigned to the lines describing the ﬁeld. In

other words, it has no sources or sinks.

Things to remember: Mathematically, divergence of an arbitrary vector

is a scalar. Physically, a non-zero ∇

F implies a source (if positive) or a

sink (if negative), and if ∇

F = 0, there is no source or sink – the ﬁeld lines

have no beginnings or ends.

7

The forms that the divergence takes in other coordinate systems are given in the

Appendix C.

22

Exercise in class:

Consider two vectorial ﬁelds

F

1

= x

ˆ

i and

F

2

= y

ˆ

i. Which of

the ﬁelds is solenoidal?

Solution: A vector ﬁeld is solenoidal when ∇

F = 0. Thus,

we calculate the divergence of the ﬁelds

div

F

1

=

∂x

∂x

(

ˆ

i

ˆ

i) +

∂x

∂y

(

ˆ

j

ˆ

i) +

∂x

∂z

(

ˆ

k

ˆ

i) = 1 .

and

div

F

2

=

∂y

∂x

(

ˆ

i

ˆ

i) +

∂y

∂y

(

ˆ

j

ˆ

i) +

∂y

∂z

(

ˆ

k

ˆ

i) = 0 ,

from which we see that the ﬁeld

F

2

= y

ˆ

i is solenoidal.

This exercise shows that divergence of a given vector ﬁeld is diﬀerent from

zero only if the ﬁeld amplitude changes in the direction of the ﬁeld. So now it

is easy to visualize the divergence of a vector ﬁeld. The divergence is related

to how the ﬁeld changes as you move in the direction of the ﬁeld.

One more example for a better understanding of the meaning of divergence.

Consider a vector r = x

ˆ

i +y

ˆ

j +z

ˆ

k that represents the position of an arbitrary

point in the Cartesian coordinates. The student can easily ﬁnd that divr = 3.

What does the number 3 mean? It means that the ﬁeld changes by one unit in

each direction. However, this statement may not be generally true. For example,

divergence of a vector

F = 2x

ˆ

i + y

ˆ

j is also equal to 3, but in this case the ﬁeld

changes by two units in the x direction and one unit in the y direction.

23

2.3 The Flux of a Vector Field

A vector ﬁeld propagating in space may cross some surfaces not necessary

normal to the ﬁeld direction.

Figure 4: A vector ﬁeld

F lines

crossing a surface S.

In this case, we may speak about a ﬂux of the

ﬁeld through the surface. The ﬂux is measured

by the number of ﬁeld lines crossing the sur-

face.

Mathematically, the ﬂux Ψ of a ﬁeld

F through

a surface S, not necessary a closed S, as shown

in Figure 4, is deﬁned as:

Ψ =

S

F d

S =

S

F ˆ ndS ,

where ˆ n is the unit vector normal to the surface at the point where the ele-

ment of area dS is located. Thus, we calculate the ﬂux through a surface S of

arbitrary shape by dividing it up into a lot of small surfaces dS and calculate

the ﬂux through each of these small surfaces. next, we add (integrate) the

ﬂuxes to obtain the total ﬂux through the surface S.

2.4 Gauss’s Divergence Theorem

We now introduce an important identity in vector analysis, the Gauss’s di-

vergence theorem or Gauss’s law, which we will use frequently in our study

of the theory of the electromagnetic ﬁelds.

Consider a vector ﬁeld

F crossing a closed surface bounding a volume V , as

shown in Figure 5.

Gauss’s law, or sometimes called as the Gauss’s divergence theorem, says that

V

∇

F dV =

S

F ˆ ndS . (1)

The Gauss’s law states that the volume integral of the divergence

of a vector ﬁeld over a volume V is equal to the closed surface in-

tegral of the vector over the surface bounding the volume V .

24

Figure 5: Illustration of the eval-

uation of the Gauss’s law for a vec-

tor ﬁeld

F crossing a closed sur-

face bounding a volume V .

Mathematically, the Gauss’s divergence the-

orem converts a volume integral of the di-

vergence of a vector to a closed surface inte-

gral of the vector, and vice versa. Physically,

the Gauss’s divergence theorem says that the

number of the ﬁeld lines ﬂowing through

the surface S is equal to the ”strength”

of the ﬁeld source contained inside the vol-

ume V .

Remember that ˆ n is the unit outward

normal over S, as shown in Figure 5,

and S is a closed surface bounding a vol-

ume V .

Associated with this is the pictorial representation of ﬁelds by lines of force,

the direction of

F given by the tangent to a line and the strength of

F given

by the line density per unit area.

Note that from the divergence theorem

∇

F = lim

dV →0

¸

1

dV

F ˆ ndS

= lim

dV →0

¸

Ψ

dV

,

i.e. the divergence of a vector ﬁeld is the emanating ﬂux per unit volume.

2.5 The Continuity Equation for Electric Current

The Gauss’s divergence theorem allows us to derive the continuity equation

for the electric current known as the equation of conservation of the charge.

Suppose we have some charge of density ρ in a volume V enclosed by a sur-

face S, as shown in Figure 6. Let v is a macroscopic velocity of the charge.

Then, the rate of decrease of the total charge in the volume V is equal to the

rate of transport of the charge out through the surface S.

Mathematically, we can express this statement as

−

∂

∂t

V

ρ dV =

S

ρv ˆ ndS .

25

Figure 6: Illustration of a ﬂow of

a charge through a surface S closing

a volume V .

Using the Gauss’ divergence theorem, we

can write

S

ρv ˆ ndS =

V

∇ (ρv) dV .

Thus

V

∂ρ

∂t

dV = −

V

∇ (ρv) dV .

However, this relation holds for arbitrary V ,

so we can drop the integrals and obtain

∂ρ

∂t

= −∇ (ρv) .

Since

ρv =

J ,

we ﬁnally obtain

∂ρ

∂t

+∇

J = 0 ,

which is well known as the continuity equation, or the equation of conser-

vation of charge.

When stationary currents are involved, then ∂ρ/∂t = 0. In this case ∇

J = 0,

that is for stationary currents the current density is solenoidal.

2.6 Curl (Rotation) Function

Another very important property of vector ﬁelds is curl or rotation or cir-

culation. Curl is the operation of ∇ operator upon a vector in a fashion

analogous to the cross product of two vectors. The result is a vector that in

Cartesian coordinates is written as

8

curl

F ≡ ∇

F =

ˆ

i

∂

F

∂x

+

ˆ

j

∂

F

∂y

+

ˆ

k

∂

F

∂z

,

8

Expressions for the curl in other coordinate systems are given in the Appendix C.

26

or

∇

F =

∂F

z

∂y

−

∂F

y

∂z

ˆ

i +

∂F

x

∂z

−

∂F

z

∂x

ˆ

j +

∂F

y

∂x

−

∂F

x

∂y

ˆ

k

=

ˆ

i

ˆ

j

ˆ

k

∂

∂x

∂

∂y

∂

∂z

F

x

F

y

F

z

.

Properties: Curl is nonzero when the ﬁeld increases (or decreases) in a dif-

ferent direction that the ﬁeld pointed. If the ﬁeld is pointed in the same

direction as that in which is increased, the curl is zero. So the curl is related

to how the ﬁeld changes as you move across the ﬁeld.

When ∇

F = 0 everywhere, the ﬁeld

F is called irrotational.

Remember: Mathematically, curl of an arbitrary vector is a vector.

Exercise in class:

Find which of the following vectorial ﬁelds is irrotational.

F

1

=

ˆ r

r

2

,

F

2

= 2r ,

F

3

= ∇r

3

,

where r = [r[ = 0 and ˆ r is the unit vector in the direction

of r.

2.7 Stokes’s Theorem

The curl function allows us to introduce an another important identity in

the theory of vectorial ﬁelds, the Stokes’s theorem that is formulated as

l

F d

l =

S

∇

F ˆ ndS ,

where

dl is the inﬁnitesimal vector length tangent to a closed path of length l

bounding a surface area S.

27

Figure 7: Illustration of the evaluation of

the Stokes’s Theorem.

The Stokes’s theorem states that

the closed line integral of a

vector ﬁeld

F along the con-

tour bounding an open sur-

face S is equal to the sur-

face integral of the curl of

the vector ﬁeld over the sur-

face.

We may write the Stokes’s theorem in

the form

∇

F ˆ n = lim

dS→0

¸

1

dS

F

dl

.

This gives an intuitive meaning to any component of ∇

F in terms of the

line integral around a small element of surface, as shown in Figure 7. Simply,

∇

F is a measure of the vorticity of the ﬁeld.

2.8 Successive Application of ∇

We can introduce scalar and vector products in which the operator ∇ ap-

pears more than once. For example, since the gradient of an arbitrary scalar

function Φ is a vector, we can take the divergence of the gradient

∇ ∇Φ = ∇

∂Φ

∂x

ˆ

i +

∂Φ

∂y

ˆ

j +

∂Φ

∂z

ˆ

k

=

∂

2

Φ

∂x

2

+

∂

2

Φ

∂y

2

+

∂

2

Φ

∂z

2

.

The same result is obtained if we take ∇ ∇ as a new operator ∇

2

with

properties

∇

2

≡ ∇ ∇ =

∂

2

∂x

2

+

∂

2

∂y

2

+

∂

2

∂z

2

.

The operator ∇

2

is called the Laplacian and is a scalar.

The Laplacian may also be applied to a vector, with the result

∇

2

F =

∂

2

F

∂x

2

+

∂

2

F

∂y

2

+

∂

2

F

∂z

2

.

28

It is also possible to form the curl of the gradient, which is identically zero

∇∇Φ = 0 . (2)

The divergence of the curl of a vector is also identically zero

9

∇ ∇

F = 0 . (3)

These two properties are very useful in the vector ﬁeld theory, in particular in

the electromagnetic theory. The relation (2) shows that an irrotational ﬁeld

can always be expressed as gradient of an arbitrary scalar ﬁeld. Similarly,

relation (3) shows that any solenoidal ﬁeld can always be expressed as a curl

of an arbitrary vector ﬁeld. Further discussion of the successful application

of ∇ is left to the tutorial problems.

9

The proof of this and the above property is left to the student as a tutorial problem.

Note that each of these properties involves two vector operations, but in writing them

we usually do not put brackets that would indicate in which order the two operations

should be applied. Is it clear to the student in which order the vector operations should

be applied?

29

Revision questions

Question 1. What is the physical meaning of the gradient of a scalar function?

Question 2. Derive the explicit form of ∇ in the Cartesian coordinates.

Question 3. What is the physical meaning of the divergence of a vector?

Question 4. What is the physical meaning of the curl of a vector?

Question 5. Write the curl of an arbitrary vector in the Cartesian coordinates.

Question 6. Explain, without using any mathematics, why ∇ ∇

F = 0.

Tutorial problems

Problem 2.1 Direction of a vector

Given a vector

A = −

ˆ

i + 2

ˆ

j − 2

ˆ

k in Cartesian coordinates, ﬁnd

the expression for the unit vector

ˆ

A in the direction of

A.

Problem 2.2 Relation between two vectors

Show that, if

A

B =

A

C and

A

B =

A

C, where

A is

not a null vector (

A =

0), then

B =

C.

Problem 2.3 Multiple applications of and

Consider arbitrary vectors

A,

B,

C and

D.

(a) Is

A(

B

C) equal to (

C

B)

A? Explain.

30

(b) Is

A (

B

C) equal to (

C

B)

A? Explain.

(c) Does

A

B =

A

C implies

B =

C? Explain.

(d) Does ∇

A = ∇

B implies

A =

B? Explain.

(e) Which of the following expressions do not make sense? Ex-

plain.

A

B/[

B[,

C

D/(

A

B),

A

B/(

C

D),

A

B

C, ∇ (∇

A), ∇

2

(

B

B),

∇

2

(

A

B), ∇(

A

B) .

(f ) Which of the following expressions are vectors and which are

scalars?

∇(∇

A), (

A ∇)

B, ∇(

A

B), ∇

2

(

A

B),

∇

A (

B

C),

A∇[

B (

C

D)], ∇

2

(

A

B),

∇(

A

B).

Problem 2.4 Vector components and directions

(a) Find the relative position vector

R of the point P(2, −2, 3)

with respect to Q(−3, 1, 4). What are the direction angles of

R?

(The direction angles are the angles between

R and the x, y and z

axes repectively).

(b) Given the two vectors

A =

ˆ

i +2

ˆ

j +3

ˆ

k and

B = 4

ˆ

i −5

ˆ

j +6

ˆ

k,

ﬁnd the angle between them. Find the component of

A in the

direction of

B.

(c) Given the vectors

A = 2

ˆ

i +3

ˆ

j −4

ˆ

k and

B = −6

ˆ

i −4

ˆ

j +

ˆ

k ﬁnd

the component of

A

B along the direction of

C =

ˆ

i −

ˆ

j +

ˆ

k.

31

Problem 2.5 Flux of a vector ﬁeld

Figure 8: Contour for evaluation of the ﬂux

of a vector ﬁeld.

(a) Given the vector ﬁeld

A =

xy

ˆ

i + yz

ˆ

j + zx

ˆ

k, evaluate directly

from the deﬁnition the ﬂux of

A

through the surface of a rectan-

gular parallelepiped of sides a, b, c

with the origin at one corner and

edges along the positive directions

of the rectangular axes, see Fig-

ure 8.

(b) Also evaluate

∇

AdV directly

and show that it is equal to the cal-

culated ﬂux as predicted by Gauss’s

Theorem.

Problem 2.6 Component in the direction of a gradient

(a) A family of hyperbolas in the xy plane is given by u = xy.

Find ∇u.

(b) Given the vector

A = 3

ˆ

i + 2

ˆ

j + 4

ˆ

k, ﬁnd the component of

A

in the direction of ∇u at the point on the curve for which u = 3

and x = 2.

Problem 2.7 Unit normal to ellipsoids

The equation giving a family of ellipsoids is:

u =

x

2

a

2

+

y

2

b

2

+

z

2

c

2

.

Find the unit vector normal to each point of the surface of these

ellipsoids.

Problem 2.8 Divergence of a radial ﬁeld

For ﬁelds of the form r

n

ˆ r, (r = 0), ﬁnd for which values of n

the divergence is zero.

32

Problem 2.9 Field of a cylindrical form

For ﬁelds of the cylindrical form ρ

n

ˆ

φ, (ρ = 0), ﬁnd for which

values of n the curl is zero.

Problem 2.10 Line integral of a vector

The vector ﬁeld

A = x

2

y

ˆ

i +xy

2

ˆ

j +a

3

e

−βy

cos αx

ˆ

k ,

where a, α, β are constants.

Figure 9: Contour for evaluation of the curl

of a vector.

Evaluate directly the line integral of

A

around the closed path in the xy plane

as shown in the Figure 9. The straight

portions are parallel to the axes and

the curved portion is the parabola

y

2

= kx, where k = constant. Eval-

uate the surface integral of ∇

A over

the area S enclosed by C. Show that

the two are related as expected by

Stokes’ Theorem.

33

3 Vectorial Equations in Electromagnetism:

Scalar and Vector Potentials

In this lecture, we will illustrate the application of the Gauss’s and Stockes’s

theorems to vectorial equations involving ∇ and ∇ operations. These type

of operations are involved in the Maxwell’s equations, the basic equations for

the electromagnetic theory. We shall discuss only the vectorial nature of

the equations, deferring a detailed physical interpretation of the equations

to the next chapter when we consider the experimental basis for electromag-

netism. Furthermore, we illustrate the Helmholtz Theorem for the unique

determination of a given vector and discuss some properties of the successive

application of ∇, which will allow us to introduce the concept of vector and

scalar potentials to the electromagnetic ﬁeld theory.

3.1 Maxwell’s Equations, an Example of Vectorial Equa-

tions

Consider the Maxwell’s equations in the diﬀerential form that are an example

of diﬀerential vectorial equations involving ∇ and ∇ operations. These

diﬀerential equations are for the vector ﬁelds

E and

B and are of the form

∇

E =

ρ

ε

0

, (4)

∇

B = 0 , (5)

∇

E = −

∂

B

∂t

, (6)

∇

B = µ

0

J +

1

c

2

∂

E

∂t

, (7)

These four equations determine ∇ and ∇ of the two vectors

E and

B,

and we need both operations for each of the EM ﬁeld vectors to completely

determine

E and

B.

An obvious question arises: Why do we need both ∇ and ∇ equations for

each of the vectors to completely determine

E and

B?

34

The answer is in the Helmholtz Theorem, which says that an arbitrary

vector

F can always be written as

F = −

1

4π

∇

V

∇

F

r

dV +

1

4π

∇

V

∇

F

r

dV

=

F

l

+

F

t

.

In other words, if the divergence and curl of a vector ﬁeld are known every-

where in a ﬁnite region, then the vector ﬁeld can be found uniquely. Thus,

speciﬁcation of ∇

F and ∇

F is necessary and suﬃcient to determine

F.

Hence, we need four equations of ∇ and ∇ type to determine

E and

B.

Since

F can be found from the knowledge of ∇ and ∇, the divergence and

curl are often called the sources of the ﬁeld.

3.2 Scalar Potential

The electromagnetic ﬁeld equations, the Maxwell’s equations, are coupled dif-

ferential equations whose the solution is not in general simple and straight-

forward. Even the calculation of electric ﬁeld produced by a macroscopic

charge from the Coulombs law is usually a diﬃcult task. Often the solutions

are aided by the use of potentials.

What do we mean by a potential and how helpful it is in the calculation of

the ﬁelds?

The idea is that the expression of the ﬁelds in terms of potentials simpli-

ﬁes the equations to a form that can be readily solved. In particular, the

Maxwell’s equations are simpliﬁed to a form that can be solved in a reason-

ably simple way.

A potential is a quantity from which a vector ﬁeld can be derived by some

process of diﬀerentiation. To show this, consider a ﬁeld with zero rotation

or curl, ∇

F = 0. Since ∇ ∇Φ ≡ 0, then the equation ∇

F = 0 will

have an integral of the form:

F = ∇Φ .

35

Thus, the ﬁeld with zero curl may be derived from the gradient of the scalar

function Φ. In the ﬁeld theory, the function Φ is called a scalar potential.

The scalar potential function is very often used in the electromagnetic ﬁeld

theory. For example, the electrostatic (Coulomb) ﬁeld has zero curl, ∇

E =

0. Hence, we can always write the electrostatic ﬁeld as

10

E = −∇Φ .

The minus sign is inserted in the deﬁnition of Φ to agree with the deﬁnition

of Φ as a potential ENERGY. The negative sign can also be understood phys-

ically from the fact that

E is in the direction that a positive charge moves,

hence in the direction of decreasing potential.

Figure 10: Illustration of a path

along which a unit charge is moved

from a point A to a point B in an

electric ﬁeld

E.

The scalar potential is useful in the calcu-

lations of work done on charges moving in

an electric ﬁeld.

The work done by the ﬁeld in moving the

unit charge q from a point A to a point B

in an electric ﬁeld

E, as illustrated in Fig-

ure 10, is given by

W

q

= −

B

A

E d

l =

B

A

∇Φ d

l

=

B

A

∂Φ

∂r

ˆ r d

l =

B

A

dΦ

= Φ

B

−Φ

A

= ∆Φ

AB

.

We see that the work done on moving the

charge from the point A to the point B

is equal to the potential diﬀerence between

the two points.

The work is independent of the path, it depends only on the position of the

start and end points. If the charge gains energy in moving from A to B, we

10

As one can see from the Maxwell’s equations, ∇

E = 0 in general in electromagnetism,

so it is not in general possible to write

E = −∇Φ.

36

say that the point B is at higher potential than the point A, and vice versa.

Note an another interesting property of the ﬁeld with ∇

E = 0.

Figure 11: Two arbitrary paths leading

from a point A to a point B.

From the Stokes’s law we have that

E d

l =

∇

E ˆ ndS = 0 .

It says that no work is done by the ﬁeld

on a test charge if it is moved along

an arbitrary closed path in the ﬁeld.

Consequently, the work along two ar-

bitrary paths from A to B, as illus-

trated in Figure 11, is

∆Φ

(AB)

1

= −∆Φ

(BA)

2

= ∆Φ

(AB)

2

.

In summary, the work done by the ﬁeld is independent of the path chosen.

In other words, if a charge is moved around any closed path, no net energy

is requred. Thus, a ﬁeld

F with ∇

F = 0 is a conservative ﬁeld of force.

3.3 Vector Potential

An another useful potential in the electromagnetic theory is the vector po-

tential. To illustrate the idea of the vector potential and how it is deﬁned,

consider a ﬁeld with zero divergence, ∇

F = 0. Since for an arbitrary

vector

A:

∇ ∇

A ≡ 0 ,

we have that the vector

F can always be written as

F = ∇

A .

Thus, the ﬁeld with zero divergence may be derived from the curl of the

vector ﬁeld

A. In the ﬁeld theory, the vector

A is called a vector potential.

We shall see that ∇

B = 0 always in electromagnetism so there will always

be a vector ﬁeld

A such that

B = ∇

A and such an

A is referred to as

37

the vector potential in electromagnetism (though there may be other elec-

tromagnetic ﬁeld functions with zero divergence).

Note also that just writing ∇

A =

B does not completely specify

A even

if

B is known everywhere. According to the Helmholtz Theorem, one needs

to specify ∇

A as well to completely determine

A. Equivalently, we can say

that deﬁning ∇

A =

B still leaves us free to deﬁne ∇

A.

Exercise in class: Applications of ∇ and ∇.

(a) For a given scalar function Φ and vectors

A,

B,

C, in-

dicate successive steps you would follow in the calculation

of the following expressions:

∇∇

A ;

A ∇

B ;

A∇

B ;

A∇

B ;

∇

A

B

C ; ∇Φ

A

B ;

A

B ∇Φ ;

∇

A

B

C ;

A ∇Φ ; ∇

A∇

B

C .

(b) Which of the expressions in part (a) are vectors?

38

Revision questions

Question 1. Explain why in electromagnetism we need two divergence and two

curl equations for the electric

E and magnetic

B ﬁelds to com-

pletely determine the ﬁelds

E and

B?

Question 2. What is the Helmholtz’s theorem telling us about a vector

F?

Question 3. Why are the scalar and vector potentials useful in electromagnetism?

Question 4. Explain, which vectors can be expressed in terms of a scalar poten-

tial and which can be expresses in terms of a vector potential.

Question 5. Explain, when a ﬁeld

F is a conservative ﬁeld of force?

39

Tutorial problems

Problem 3.1 If the potential Φ satisﬁes the Laplace equation, ∇

2

Φ = 0, show

that the vector ∇Φ is both solenoidal and irrotational.

Problem 3.2 Show from the form of Maxwell’s equations that it should be

possible to deﬁne electromagnetic potentials

A and Φ such that

the ﬁelds can be calculated from

E = −∇Φ −

∂

A

∂t

,

B = ∇

A .

Problem 3.3 In an application of the electromagnetic theory to nuclear physics,

the so-called vectorial mesons are described by three vectorial ﬁelds

E,

B,

A

and a real scalar ﬁeld Φ. The ﬁelds satisfy the following equations

∇

E = −µ

2

Φ ,

∇

B =

∂

E

∂t

−µ

2

A ,

E = −

∂

A

∂t

−∇Φ ,

where µ

2

is a positive constant.

Show that the above equations can be converted into two diﬀeren-

tial equations

(i) ∇

A+

∂Φ

∂t

= 0 ,

(ii) ∇

2

Φ −µ

2

Φ −

∂

2

Φ

∂t

2

= 0 .

40

4 The Experimental Basis of the Develop-

ment of Electromagnetic Theory

In this lecture, we will analyse experiments that led to the development of

the electromagnetic theory. We will show that the Coulomb Law for the elec-

trostatic force between two point charges is the experimental basis for the

development of the electric theory and the Biot-Savart Law for the magnetic

force between two static currents is the experimental basis for the develop-

ment of the magnetic theory. We also illustrate two useful laws of electro-

magnetism, the Gauss’s and Amperes Circuit laws, that are very helpful in

calculations of the electric and magnetic ﬁelds produced by some symmetric

distributions of charges and currents.

4.1 Coulomb’s Law – Force between Static Charges

In 1785, Coulomb investigated the nature of the force between charged bod-

ies, and the results of his experiments can be formulated mathematically in

what is known as Coulomb’s law

F

2

=

1

4πε

0

q q

r

2

ˆ r .

We can write Coulomb’s law in terms of the electric ﬁeld produced by the

charge q that acts on the charge q

:

F

q

= q

E ,

where

E =

1

4πε

0

q

r

2

ˆ r

is the electric ﬁeld produced by the charge q. The electric ﬁeld is an example

of a vector ﬁeld. In principle, we can always calculate an electric ﬁeld using

Coulomb’s law. However, there is an alternative way we can ﬁnd the electric

ﬁeld. In particular, the ﬁeld may be represented by means of the ﬂux con-

cept. The total ﬂux of

E from a point charge q may be readily calculated by

integrating

E d

**S over a surface enclosing q.
**

41

4.2 Gauss’s Law

Consider a macroscopic charge q closed by a surface S, as shown in Figure 12.

We will show that the ﬂux of the electric ﬁeld produced by the charge q is

proportional to the charge q, and is independent of the shape of the surface

closing the charge.

Figure 12: Illustration of the

calculation of the Gauss’s law.

Consider ﬁrst the ﬂux through a spherical sur-

face, for which we ﬁnd after a simple algebra,

that the ﬂux is

Ψ

S1

=

S1

E ˆ ndS =

S1

q

4πε

0

r

2

0

ˆ r ˆ ndS

=

q

4πε

0

r

2

0

S1

dS =

q

4πε

0

r

2

0

4πr

2

0

=

q

ε

0

.

Thus, we see that the ﬂux through the

spherical surface is proportional to the

charge enclosed by the surface. An obvi-

ous question arises: Is this relation valid

only for the case of spherical surfaces or

maybe it is valid for an arbitrary sur-

face?

In order to answer this question, consider the ﬂux through an arbitrary sur-

face

Ψ

S2

=

S2

dΨ

S2

=

S2

q

4πε

0

r

2

ˆ r ˆ ndS ,

where S2 is an arbitrary surface enclosing the charge q.

However, from the inverse square law and some geometry, we ﬁnd

dΨ

S2

=

q

4πε

0

r

2

ˆ r ˆ ndS =

q

4πε

0

dS cos θ

r

2

=

q

4πε

0

dΩ ,

where dΩ is the solid angle subtended by dS at q.

We see from Figure 12 that the element of solid angle dΩ is independent of

where we cut the bundle of electric lines of force. Thus

dΨ

S2

= dΨ

S1

and then

dΨ

S2

=

dΨ

S1

=

q

ε

0

.

42

Hence

Ψ

S2

=

dΨ

S2

=

q

ε

0

. (8)

Equation (8) is the statement of the Gauss’s Law. It says that the ﬂux

of the elcetric ﬁeld

E through a closed surface equals 1/ε

0

times the total

charge contained within the surface.

Figure 13: Illustration of the

Gauss’s law for a number of point

charges enclosed by a surface S.

Furthermore, the Gauss’s Law applies not

only to a single charge contained within

a surface S, but also for some arbitrary

number of point charges q

1

, q

2

, q

3

, , q

n

or

a continuous distribution of charges within

the surface S.

We can write this statement in the following

way

dΨ =

(

E

1

+

E

2

+

E

3

+ ) ˆ n dS

= Ψ

1

+ Ψ

2

+ Ψ

3

+

=

q

1

ε

0

+

q

2

ε

0

+

q

3

ε

0

+ =

1

ε

0

¸

q ,

where

¸

q is the algebraic sum of all charges

within the surface S. For a contiuous distribution of charges inside the

surface S

¸

q =

V

ρdV ,

where ρ is the charge density in the volume V enclosed by the surface S.

This general property is what one could expect, the Gauss’s law applies to an

arbitrary number of charges due to the additive nature of the ﬁelds produced

by each charge separately.

Gauss’s Law for a source ﬁeld charge outside S

43

If the source charge q is outside S, as illustrated in Figure 14, the surface in-

tegral vanishes since the total solid angle subtended at q by the surface is zero.

Proof:

Consider ﬁrst the ﬂux of the electric ﬁeld through a surface element dS

1

seen

from the charge q under a solid angle dΩ:

dΨ

1

=

q

4πε

0

ˆ r ˆ n

1

dS

1

r

2

1

.

However

ˆ r ˆ n

1

dS

1

r

2

1

= −

dS

1

r

2

1

= −dΩ ,

where minus sign is from the fact that at the surface dS

1

the angle between ˆ r

and ˆ n

1

is larger than 90

◦

.

Figure 14: Illustration of the calcula-

tion of the Gauss’s law for the source

charge outside the surface S.

Similarly, the ﬂux of the electric ﬁeld

through a surface element dS

2

seen from

the position of the charge q under the

same solid angle dΩ is

dΨ

2

=

q

4πε

0

ˆ r ˆ n

2

dS

2

r

2

2

=

q

4πε

0

dΩ ,

where now we have positive sign since at

the surface dS

2

the angle between ˆ r and

ˆ n

2

is smaller than 90

◦

. Thus, we ﬁnd that

dΨ

1

+ dΨ

2

= 0 ,

and integrating over all S, we obtain that

the total ﬂux through the surface S is

Ψ =

S

dΨ = 0 .

The physical interpretation of this result is that ﬁeld lines originating from

an external charge and entering the surface S must also leave this surface.

44

In summary, the Gauss’s law says that the total electric ﬂux through a

surface S enclosing a charge q is:

Ψ =

q

ε

0

, where q =

¸

charges INSIDE S .

Using the deﬁnition of the ﬂux, we often write the Gauss’s law as

S

E d

S =

q

ε

0

.

The power of the Gauss’s law lies in the fact that we are free to apply it to any

closed surface whose shape can be chosen arbitrary such that the evaluation

of the surface integral becomes a simple straightforward task. The Gauss’s

law is particularly useful in the calculation of the electric ﬁeld produced by

certain symmetrical charge distributions. If the distribution of the charges

does not correspond to any simple symmetry, the Gauss’s law is not much

helpful in the calculations. We illustrate this in the following example.

Example of an application of the Gauss’ Law

An inﬁnitely long line is positively and uniformly charged with a constant

linear charge density ρ

l

. Use (a) Coulomb law, (b) Gauss’s law to ﬁnd the

electric ﬁeld about the line.

(a) If we have to calculate the ﬁeld due to a static macroscopic distribution

of charge using the Coulomb law, we divide the macroscopic charge into

inﬁnitesimal (point) charges dq which produce an electric ﬁeld d

E. The ﬁeld

d

**E of the point charge dq is given by the Coulomb ﬁeld
**

d

E =

1

4πε

0

dq

r

2

ˆ r .

Then the total electric ﬁeld is found by vector addition

E =

d

E .

Since we are adding vectors, a caution must be employed. We use the fol-

lowing procedure, which is general and can be employed to any system:

45

1. Write the expression for the electric ﬁeld d

**E produced by the inﬁnites-
**

imal (point) charge dq.

2. Choose a reference frame and resolve the vector d

E into components

dE

x

, dE

y

, and dE

z

.

3. Calculate each component of E separately by integration, e.g. calculate

E

x

=

dE

x

.

4. Find the resultant

E from its components

E = E

x

ˆ

i + E

y

ˆ

j + E

z

ˆ

k .

Return now to our example of the charged inﬁnitely long line and lets try to

solve the example problem following the above procedure.

Figure 15: Illustration of an ap-

plication of the Coulomb law to the

calculation of the electric ﬁeld of an

inﬁnitelt long line charge.

Take a small element dl of the line contain-

ing a point charge dq. Electric ﬁeld pro-

duced by the point charge at A distance r

from dl is given by the Coulomb ﬁeld

d

E =

1

4πε

0

dq

r

2

ˆ r .

We see from the ﬁgure that

r =

h

sin θ

, l = hcot θ .

Since the density of the charges on the line is

constant, the charge on the line element dl is

dq = ρ

l

dl , where dl = −

h

sin

2

θ

dθ .

Then

d

E =

ρ

l

4πε

0

−

h

sin

2

θ

sin

2

θ

h

2

dθ

cos θ

ˆ

i + sin θ

ˆ

j

= −

ρ

l

4πε

0

h

cos θ

ˆ

i + sin θ

ˆ

j

dθ ,

where we have decomposed the unit vector ˆ r into two (x, y) components

ˆ r = cos θ

ˆ

i + sin θ

ˆ

j .

46

Integrating over θ from θ = π to θ = 0, as the line is inﬁnite and we go in the

direction of increasing l (from x = ∞, θ = π to x = −∞, θ = 0), we obtain

E =

ρ

l

4πε

0

h

(−sin 0 + sin π)

ˆ

i + (cos 0 −cos π)

ˆ

j

=

ρ

l

2πε

0

h

ˆ

j .

Thus, the electric ﬁeld produced by the charged line depends inversely on the

distance from the line and points in the direction perpendicular to the line.

(b) Let us now calculate the ﬁeld by the direct application of the Gauss’s law.

The electric ﬁeld near the uniformly charged line must be radially directed

because of the symmetry of the problem. The ﬁeld must have cylindrical

symmetry because the problem is unchanged by rotating the line about its

axis. The ﬁeld must also be independent of position along the line because

the distance to either end is inﬁnite.

Figure 16: Application of the Gauss’s

law to an inﬁnitely long line charge.

This is the ideal situation for the

application of Gauss’s Law. Due

to the cylindrical symmetry of the

ﬁeld, we can apply a cylinder sur-

face of radius h and length L cen-

tered about the line of charge, as shown

in Figure 16. Such a surface is of-

ten referred to as a Gaussian sur-

face.

According to the Gauss’s law

S

E d

S =

q

ε

0

,

where q = ρ

l

L is the charge on the line closed by the cylinder surface.

The ﬂux through the cylinder surface splits into three ﬂuxes

S

E

dS =

A

E

dS

A

+

B

E

dS

B

+

C

E

dS

C

.

47

Since

E ⊥

dS

A

,

E ⊥

dS

C

,

E |

dS

B

, and the magnitude of

E is constant

along the surface B, the ﬂux through the cylinder reduces to that over the

surface B only

S

E

dS =

B

EdS

B

= 2πhLE ,

and since the cylinder is symmetrically positioned about the line of charge,

the magnitude of E is constant over the surface B. Then, according to the

Gauss’s law

2πhLE =

ρ

l

L

ε

0

,

which gives

E =

ρ

l

2πε

0

h

.

Note how simple are the calculations of the electric ﬁeld using the Gauss’s

law. However, we were able to solve this problem because we knew the

direction of the ﬁeld at any point around the line.

48

4.3 Biot-Savart Law – Force between Static Currents

There is a force not only between electric charges but also between electric

currents. This force has a diﬀerent nature than that one due to electric

charges, it is due to magnetic ﬁelds produced by the currents.

Figure 17: Example of an experiment

illustrating the existance of the magnetic

force between two current carrying wires.

It has been ﬁrst noticed by Oer-

sted in 1819, and few years later,

in 1827 by Ampere who showed that

quantitatively the magnetic forces

in macroscopic circuits can be ac-

counted for by what has come

to be known as the Biot-Savart

Law.

To illustrate the presence of mag-

netic forces between electric currents,

consider an experiment involving two

long parallel wires carrying currents I

1

and I

2

and separated by a distance d,

as shown in the Figure 17.

Experimental observations:

• If I

1

|I

2

then the force F is attractive.

• If I

1

anti| I

2

then F is repulsive.

• If one of the wires is rotated through 90

◦

then F = 0.

• The force is proportional to the currents I

1

and I

2

.

All the above observations can be conbined into a single equation for the

force acting on the current I

2

:

d

F

2

=

µ

0

4π

I

2

d

2

(I

1

d

1

ˆ r)

r

2

,

where µ

0

= 4π 10

−7

[H/m] in SI units, is the permeability of the vacuum.

49

We can write the force as

d

F

2

= I

2

d

2

d

B ,

where

d

B =

µ

0

4π

I

1

d

1

ˆ r

r

2

,

which is known as the Biot-Savart law for magnetic ﬁeld produced by the

current element I

1

d

1

.

The Biot-Savart law allows to compute magnetic ﬁeld produced by an arbi-

trary current distribution Id

B =

µ

0

I

4π

l

d

ˆ r

r

2

. (9)

The method requires integration of small current elements. Note, all three

quantities appearing under the integral change during the integration, which

complicates the evaluation of the integral.

We can simplify the calculations of

B by using the following procedure.

If we replace ˆ r/r

2

by −∇(1/r), the integrand becomes

−d

∇(1/r) .

Next, using a vector identity we ﬁnd that

∇

¸

d

r

¸

=

1

r

∇d

−d

∇

1

r

= −d

∇

1

r

,

since ∇d

= 0. Hence, we can write

B = ∇

µ

0

I

4π

l

d

r

. (10)

Thus, the magnetic ﬁeld can be expressed as

B = ∇

A .

50

We see that ∇

B = 0 always. Thus, in this case we can ﬁrst calculate

A:

A =

µ

0

I

4π

l

d

r

, (11)

which involves only two variables d

**and r, and then using (10), we ﬁnd
**

B.

The integral for

A is easier to calculate than the original expression (9) for

B.

Since the curl operation is readily performed, we may use (11) as an inter-

mediate step for ﬁnding

B in a simpler way.

As we have already mentioned, the vector

A is called a vector potential,

and will see later in the course many useful applications of

A in electromag-

netic theory.

4.4 Current Element and Charge Element

The Biot-Savart law shows that the magnetic ﬁeld is produced by a current

element. Here, we will show that in fact the magnetic ﬁeld is produced by

moving charges.

Figure 18: Current element of a charge

moving with a velocity v.

A charge dq moving with a velocity v

is equivalent to an element of cur-

rent Id:

dq = Idt = I

d

v

,

where dt is the time for all the charge

in d to pass out of the volume, as il-

lustrated in Figure 18.

Hence

dqv = Id

.

The force between the two current elements can then be written as

d

F

2

=

µ

0

4π

dq

2

v

2

(dq

1

v

1

ˆ r)

r

2

,

51

or

d

F

2

= dq

2

v

2

d

B

1

,

with

d

B

1

=

µ

0

4π

dq

1

v

1

ˆ r

r

2

.

This shows that magnetic ﬁeld is produced by a moving electric charge.

Moreover, it shows that the magnetic ﬁeld can act with a force only on

moving charges. No force of a magnetic ﬁeld on stationary charges.

4.5 The Lorentz Force

When a charge is moving in electric and magnetic ﬁelds, the force acting on

the charge is no longer the Coulomb force. It is the Lorentz force that is

obtained putting Coulomb’s Law

F

E

= q

**E and the Biot-Savart Law
**

F

M

=

qv

B together:

F

EM

=

F

E

+

F

M

= q(

E +v

B) .

Thus, a motion of electric charges is modiﬁed by both the electric and mag-

netic forces. If the charge is stationary, the force depends only on

E, if it

moves, there is an additional force proportional to v.

52

4.6 Amperes Circuit Law

Amperes circuit law is a useful relation between currents and magnetic ﬁelds.

This law allows us to calculate magnetic ﬁeld produced by certain current

distributions in a very eﬀective way.

Figure 19: Contour for evaluation of

the Amperes circuit law.

The Amperes law says that for an arbi-

trary closed path around a current car-

rying conductor, as shown in Figure 19,

the component of magnetic ﬁeld tangent

to the path is proportional to the net cur-

rent passing through the surface bounded

by the path

B d

= µ

0

I ,

where the integration is over a closed loop

and I is the total current through the

loop.

11

The Amperes law can be applied in highly symmetric situations to ﬁnd the

magnetic ﬁeld more easily than by computing with the Biot-Savart law. In

either case, the result is the same. In case that lack the proper symmetry,

the Amperes law is not easily applied. The following example illustrates the

use of Ampere’s law.

Worked Example: An application of the Amperes Law

An inﬁnitely long wire caries a constant current I. Use (a)

Biot-Savart law, (b) Amperes law to ﬁnd the magnetic ﬁeld

about the wire.

(a) First, we divide the current into the small current el-

ements Id

. The element of magnetic ﬁeld d

B due to an

element I d

**at a point A distance r = rˆ r is found from the
**

Biot-Savart formula:

d

B =

µ

0

4π

I d

ˆ r

r

2

,

11

The prove of the Amperes law is complicated and will not be presented at the lecture.

The student, if interested in details of the prove is referred to the Appendix A.

53

where we note that all d

**B are in the same
**

ˆ

φ direction normal

to the direction of the current. So we see from this symme-

try that the ﬁeld lines are circles concentric with the current.

Furthermore, along any such circular path the ﬁeld is con-

stant in magnitude.

Let us calculate the magnitude of the magnetic ﬁeld. Since

d

ˆ r = dl sin θ

ˆ

φ , r =

h

sin θ

, l = hcot θ ,

we have

dl = −

h

sin

2

θ

dθ

and then

d

B =

µ

0

I

4π

sin

2

θ

h

2

−

h

sin

2

θ

sin θdθ

ˆ

φ = −

µ

0

I

4πh

sin θdθ

ˆ

φ .

Integrating the above equation over the length of the wire,

we obtain

B = −

µ

0

I

4πh

0

π

sin θdθ

ˆ

φ =

µ

0

I

4πh

(cos 0 −cos π)

ˆ

φ

=

µ

0

I

2πh

ˆ

φ .

(b) Let us now calculate the ﬁeld using the Amperes law.

Since the ﬁeld lines are circles concentric with the current,

54

and along any such circular path the ﬁeld is constant in mag-

nitude, this is the ideal situation for the application of Am-

peres law:

B d

= µ

0

I ⇒2πhB = µ

0

I ⇒B =

µ

0

I

2πh

.

Note how much simpler are the calculations of the magnetic

ﬁeld using the Amperes law.

4.7 Faraday’s Law of Electromagnetic Induction

Faraday discovered electromagnetic induction by changing magnetic ﬁeld. If

we consider a closed stationary circuit located in a varying magnetic ﬁeld,

as shown in Figure 20, the induced electromotive force around this circuit is

equal to the negative time rate of change of the magnetic ﬂux through the

circuit

c = −

dΦ

dt

,

where Φ is the total magnetic ﬂux through the circuit.

12

Figure 20: Illustration of a closed cir-

cuit located in a magnetic ﬁeld.

From the deﬁnition of the ﬂux

Φ =

S

B

dS ,

and from the fact that the emf force c is

equal to the work done per unit charge,

we have

c

q

=

(

E +v

B) d

.

In a stationary circuit v = 0 (and any-

way v

B ⊥ d

since v | d

). Thus

12

The electromotive force is induced by varying the ﬂux of the magnetic ﬁeld that is

proportional to the magnetic ﬁeld and the area of the loop. Thus, the electromotive force

can also be induced in a constant magnetic ﬁeld by varying the area S of the loop.

55

v

B d

= 0.

Hence

c =

E d

and ﬁnally

E d

= −

∂

∂t

S

B d

S ,

or

E d

= −

S

∂

B

∂t

d

S .

This is the Faraday’s law written in the integral form.

The student can easily show, using the Stokes’s theorem, that the Faraday’s

law can be written as

∇

E = −

∂

B

∂t

,

which is called the diﬀerential form of the Faraday’s law.

In summary: The Faraday’s law tells us that time-varying magnetic ﬁelds

give rise to electric ﬁelds. This shows that the ﬁelds are related to each other,

and we then must speak of electromagnetic ﬁelds, rather than separate

electric and magnetic ﬁelds.

56

Revision questions

Question 1. State the Gauss’s Law and explain under what conditions the

Gauss’s law is useful in calculating the electric ﬁeld produced by a

macroscopic charge.

Question 2. State the Biot-Savart Law and show that magnetic ﬁeld is produced

by moving charges.

Question 3. State the Ampere’s Law and explain under what conditions the

Ampere’s law can be successfully applied for the calculation of the

magnetic ﬁeld produced by a macroscopic currents.

Question 4. What is the Faraday’s law of electromagnetic induction and derive

its diﬀerential form.

57

Tutorial problems

Problem 4.1 Field of a capacitor

(a) An inﬁnite ﬂat sheet has a uniform charge density of σ [Cm

−2

].

Use Gauss’ Theorem plus an argument from symmetry to ﬁnd the

electric ﬁeld strength everywhere.

(b) A capacitor that has plates (area A) of diameter very much

greater than the spacing d between them has charge densities +σ

and −σ on the plates, respectively. Use the result in (a) to ﬁnd

the total electric ﬁeld strength due to the charges on the plates,

within and outside the capacitor.

(c) Calculate the force per unit area on one plate due to its at-

traction by charges of opposite sign on the other plate.

Problem 4.2 Properties of a radial vector ﬁeld

If

F is the vector r

n

ˆ r, (r = 0) show that:

∇

F = 0 ,

∇

F = (n + 2)r

n−1

.

Problem 4.3 The Poisson equation

Note from the above tutorial problem 4.2 that the divergence of

the radial ﬁeld is zero for n = −2. The student may immedi-

ately comment that this result means that the Coulomb ﬁeld of

this symmetry has no point source. However, we know that the

Coulomb ﬁeld is produced by a point charge. How then the diver-

gence is zero if there is a point source of the ﬁeld?

To resolve this dilemma, show that for all r including r = 0

∇

ˆ r

r

2

= 4πδ(r) ,

where δ(r) is the three-dimensional Dirac delta function.

58

Problem 4.4 Field of a non-uniformly charged sphere

A sphere of radius a has a charge density increasing linearly with

radius from zero at its centre to ρ

0

at r = a. Use the Gauss’s law

to ﬁnd the electrostatic ﬁeld inside as well as outside the sphere.

Use the results to conﬁrm that

∇

E =

ρ

ε

0

and ∇

E = 0 ,

everywhere.

Problem 4.5 Field of charged coaxial cylinders

Figure 21:

Two inﬁnitely long coaxial cylinders have

radii a and b with b > a, as shown in

Figure 21. The region between them is

ﬁlled with charge of volume density given

in cylindrical coordinates as

ρ = Ar

n

,

where A and n are constants. The charge

density is zero everywhere else. Find the

electric ﬁeld

E everywhere, i.e. inside,

between and outside the cylinders.

Problem 4.6 Field of a uniformly charged cylinder

An inﬁnitely long cylinder has a circular cross section of radius a.

It is ﬁlled with a charge of constant volume density ρ. Find the

electric ﬁeld of this charge for all points both inside and outside

the cylinder.

Problem 4.7 Charge density for a cylindrically symmetric electric ﬁeld

A certain electric ﬁeld is given in cylindrical coordinates by

E =

E

0

(r/a)

3

ˆ r for 0 < r < a and

E = 0 otherwise. Find the volume

charge density.

59

Problem 4.8 Charge in a uniform magnetic ﬁeld

(a) A charge q enters a region of uniform magnetic ﬁeld

B moving

at right angles to the ﬁeld. Show that the charge will undergo cir-

cular motion in the ﬁeld and ﬁnd an expression for the frequency

of the circular motion.

(b) Describe the motion of the charge if it is not moving at right

angles to the magnetic ﬁeld.

Problem 4.9 Magnetic ﬁeld of an inﬁnite current sheet

Consider an inﬁnite plane sheet containing an electric current

which is in the same direction everywhere (the current can be con-

sidered to close at inﬁnity if we want to justify use of closed circuit

theorems). The strength of the current would be described by a

current per unit length (with the ‘length’ drawn at right angles

to the direction of the current). So the units of ‘surface current

density’ would be amps/metre. Note that if the current is entirely

conﬁned to a plane the ordinary current density J in amps/metre

2

must be considered as inﬁnite.

(a) Use an argument from symmetry plus Amp` eres circuital law

to ﬁnd the magnetic ﬁeld due to an inﬁnite plane with surface

current density J

s

amps/metre. It may be helpful to think of the

surface current as the limit of a large number of parallel wires.

(b) Using the result of part (a), ﬁnd the force per unit area be-

tween two parallel current sheets containing surface current den-

sities I

1

and I

2

if the currents in the two sheets are both in the

same direction.

60

5 Diﬀerential Equations for the EM Field and

Maxwell’s Theory

We know now that electromagnetic forces are carried by electromagnetic

ﬁelds that propagate at speed c · 3 10

8

ms

−1

. Because of the ﬁnite propa-

gation speed we are forced to assign energy and momentum to the ﬁelds i.e.

we must think of them as real physical entities as against mere mathematical

conveniences (as is the case for static ﬁelds). An electromagnetic system then

qualiﬁes as static only if all the charges have been at rest longer than the

time taken to traverse the system at speed c.

In the 1830’s Michael Faraday carried out experiments to measure a ﬁnite

electromagnetic propagation speed. He was unsuccessful due to lack of time

resolution in his apparatus. Faraday would have had no reason to think that

the electromagnetic speed was the same as the speed of light (then known).

In the 1860’s, James Clerk Maxwell, seeking to advance Faraday’s ideas about

electromagnetic ﬁelds, by a brilliant process of intuition worked out how to

generalize certain diﬀerential equations deduced from static experiments. He

produced a set of ﬁeld equations known by his name today. Maxwell also

had a theory i.e. a set of qualitative ideas underpinning his equations. The

theory, unlike the equations, has not stood the test of time.

5.1 Diﬀerential Equations for the EM Field

Let us take as the source of the electromagnetic ﬁeld a continuous macro-

scopic charge and current distribution represented in terms of the macro-

scopic source quantities, charge and current densities

q =

ρ dV , I =

J ndS .

Using the Gauss’s and Stokes’s Theorems, we will ﬁnd diﬀerential vector

equations for the ﬁelds

E and

B from the integral forms of observational

results discussed in the previous chapter.

61

5.1.1 Divergence of

E

Consider the Coulomb’s Law that can be written in the form of the Gauss’s

law as

S

E d

S =

q

ε

0

=

V

ρ

ε

0

dV .

Applying the Gauss’s Theorem, Eq. (1), to the left-hand side of the above

equation, we obtain

V

∇

E dV =

V

ρ

ε

0

dV .

Since this relation must hold for arbitrary V , no matter how small, we can

drop the integrals, and obtain

∇

E =

ρ

ε

0

.

This equation is called the diﬀerential form of the Coulomb’s (Gauss’s) Law.

From this equation it follows that the divergence of the electric ﬁeld is zero

in all regions where there is no electric charge.

5.1.2 Curl of

E

Consider the Faraday’s ﬂux cutting rule

E d

= −

S

∂

B

∂t

ˆ ndS .

Applying Stokes’s Theorem to the left-hand side of the above equation, we get

S

∇

E ˆ ndS = −

S

∂

B

∂t

ˆ ndS .

Since this relation must hold for arbitrary S and ˆ n, it implies that

∇

E = −

∂

B

∂t

.

This equation is called the diﬀerential form of the Faraday’s law.

62

5.1.3 Divergence of

B

We calculate the divergence of

B from the Biot-Savart law

B =

µ

0

4π

I d

ˆ r

r

2

.

By taking ∇ of both sides of the Biot-Savart law and applying the vector

identity

∇ (

A

B) =

B ∇

A −

A ∇

B ,

we obtain

∇

B =

µ

0

I

4π

ˆ r

r

2

∇d

−d

∇

ˆ r

r

2

. (12)

However, ∇ d

= 0, since d

**is a constant vector with respect to the
**

diﬀerentiation over x, y and z, and

∇

ˆ r

r

n

≡ 0 for any n .

Hence, the right-hand side of Eq. (12) is always zero, so that always

∇

B = 0 .

This equation, sometimes called Gauss’s law for magnetism, states that the

ﬂux of the magnetic ﬁeld

B is zero through any closed surface.

5.1.4 Curl of

B

We ﬁnd curl of

B from the Ampere’s circuit law

B d

= µ

0

I = µ

0

S

J ˆ ndS .

Simply, by applying Stokes’s Theorem to the Ampere’s law, we ﬁnd that the

following relation

S

∇

B ˆ ndS = µ

0

S

J ˆ ndS

63

holds for arbitrary S. Thus

∇

B = µ

0

J . (13)

This equation is called the diﬀerential form of the Ampere’s circuit law.

However, Maxwell realized that unlike the previous three diﬀerential equa-

tions, this one, Eq. (13), could not be generally true. To see this, take its

divergence and remember that ∇ ∇

F ≡ 0 for any vector function

F, so

that

∇ ∇

B = 0 = µ

0

∇

J .

Thus

∇

J ≡ 0 ,

which means that the Ampere’s law does not include source currents. This

result is in contradiction with the continuity equation of

J varying with time.

We have already seen that conservation of electric charge requires

∇

J = −

∂ρ

∂t

.

Thus ∇

J ≡ 0 implies that

∂ρ

∂t

≡ 0 i.e. ρ = const.

Hence, the Ampere law may be applied only for constant currents, i.e. ac-

cepting the Ampere law as general, we could never charge or discharge a

capacitor.

No wonder Maxwell was confused!

5.2 The Maxwell’s Theory

Maxwell guessed the right form of ∇

B as follows. Since

∇

J +

∂ρ

∂t

= 0

64

and using for ρ the ﬁrst Maxwell equation

ρ = ε

0

∇

E ,

we have

∇

J +

∂ε

0

∇

E

∂t

= 0 , or ∇

¸

J + ε

0

∂

E

∂t

¸

= 0 .

If then we, after Maxwell, write:

∇

B = µ

0

¸

J + ε

0

∂

E

∂t

¸

,

instead of

∇

B = µ

0

J ,

we obtain

∇ ∇

B ≡ 0 → ∇

¸

J + ε

0

∂

E

∂t

¸

= 0 ,

which is in accordance with conservation and motion of charge.

Note from above that the term that Maxwell added

ε

0

∂

E

∂t

,

has the dimensions of current density. Maxwell called it the displacement

current density.

Note that the displacement current density does not explicitly involve charges,

they do not appear explicitly in the deﬁnition of the displacement current

density. Why then we call it as a ”current”? Maxwell had a theory under-

pinning his equations in which the displacement current was a real physical

current - due to ‘polarization of the electromagnetic ether’. This theory has

not survived. Nevertheless the above term is still referred to as the ‘displace-

ment current’.

65

With the modiﬁcation of the current density, we then write the fourth Maxwell’s

equation as

∇

B = µ

0

J + ε

0

µ

0

∂

E

∂t

,

which contains all the physical processes involved in the generation of mag-

netic ﬁelds.

In summary:

The diﬀerential form of the Maxwell’s equations is easier to inter-

pret physically and is also useful in deriving the boundary condi-

tions that the ﬁeld vectors must satisfy.

The Maxwell’s equations are self-consistent and no experimental

evidence for requiring any further modiﬁcations has been found.

The equations are used to explain and predict all physical phenom-

ena that involve charges and/or currents.

Exercise in class: Fields within a capacitor

A plane parallel capacitor is being charged with a current I.

Show that the displacement current between the plates of

the capacitor is equal to the conduction current I in the ex-

ternal charging circuit. Remember that the displacement

current density is, by deﬁnition, ε

0

∂

E

∂t

so the displacement

current through a surface S is:

I

D

=

S

ε

0

∂

E

∂t

ˆ ndS .

Assume that the external wires are perfect conductors so

that

E is zero in them. Assume the space between the

plates is a perfect insulator so no conduction current ﬂows

within the capacitor.

66

Can you see any curious consequence in this case if the

displacement current is assumed to be a real physical cur-

rent (ﬂow of charges)?

67

Revision questions

Question 1. Derive the diﬀerential forms for the Coulomb, Ampere and Faraday

laws.

Question 2. Derive the so-called Gauss’s law for magnetism.

Question 3. Explain, how Maxwell resolved the diﬃculty with general applica-

tions of the Ampere’s law.

Question 4. What is the displacement current and explain its signiﬁcance in

the EM theory.

Question 5. Are the Maxwell’s equations independet of each other? Explain.

Tutorial problems

Problem 5.1 Coulomb ﬁeld

Demonstrate that the Coulomb ﬁeld for stationary point charge

E =

1

4πε

o

q

r

2

ˆ r

follows from Maxwell’s equations.

Problem 5.2 Magnetic ﬁeld of an inﬁnite straight wire

Magnetic ﬁeld at distance r from an inﬁnite straight wire carrying

constant current I in the z direction is given by

B =

µ

o

I

2πr

ˆ

φ ,

where

ˆ

φ is the unit vector in the direction of

B in the xy plane.

Show, using only the circuit, surface and volume integrations, and

the Gauss’ and Stokes’ Theorems that the magnetic ﬁeld satisﬁes

Maxwell’s equations.

68

6 Maxwell’s Equations and Prediction

of Electromagnetic Waves

In the previous lecture, we have derived from the experimental laws vectorial

expressions for both the divergence and curl of the two basic ﬁeld vectors

E

and

B. These expressions put together completely determine the electro-

magnetic ﬁelds and are termed the Maxwell’s equations

I. ∇

E =

ρ

ε

0

,

II. ∇

B = 0 ,

III. ∇

E = −

∂

B

∂t

,

IV. ∇

B = µ

0

J + ε

0

µ

0

∂

E

∂t

.

As we have shown in the previous lecture, the ﬁrst equation, which we shall

call the Maxwell’s equation number I, is the diﬀerential form of the Gauss’s

law, the second equation, which we shall call the Maxwell’s equation num-

ber II, tells us about the non-existence of magnetic charges, the third equa-

tion, which we shall call the Maxwell’s equation number III, is the diﬀeren-

tial form of the Faraday’s law, and the ﬁnal equation, which we shall call

the Maxwell’s equation number IV, is the diﬀerential form of the modiﬁed

Ampere’s law.

Maxwell’s immediate triumph with the modiﬁcation of the Ampere’s law

was to predict the existence of electromagnetic waves and their propagation

speed. The calculated speed came (within experimental error) to be equal

to the measured speed of light. This prediction obviously led to the con-

clusion that light was electromagnetic in nature. Thus arose a synthesis of

electromagnetism and optics. In this lecture, we will show how the Maxwell’s

equations predict the existence of the electromagnetic waves and will analyse

their properties when the ﬁelds propagate in vacuum. Much of our discus-

sion, however, will be about ‘how to solve the Maxwell’s equations’ for ﬁelds

propagating in vacuum.

69

6.1 The Wave Equation for EM Waves in Vacuum

In a vacuum there are no sources, i.e. ρ = 0 and

J = 0. Hence, the Maxwell’s

equations reduce to the following diﬀerential equations

∇

E = 0 , (14)

∇

B = 0 , (15)

∇

E = −

∂

B

∂t

, (16)

∇

B = ε

0

µ

0

∂

E

∂t

. (17)

These equations are readily to solve. The procedure is to eliminate

E or

B

between equations (16) and (17) to obtain diﬀerential equations for

E or

B

alone, using where required Eqs. (14) and (15).

Method:

Think of ∇ and ∂/∂t as linear (diﬀerential) operators. By analogy with

methods of solving linear algebraic equations, applying ∇ into (16) and

∂/∂t into (17), we obtain

∇

∇

E

= −

∂∇

B

∂t

,

∂

∂t

∇

B = ε

0

µ

0

∂

2

E

∂t

2

.

Hence

∇

∇

E

= −ε

0

µ

0

∂

2

E

∂t

2

,

and using a vector identity

∇

∇

E

= ∇∇

E −∇

2

E ,

we obtain

∇∇

E −∇

2

E = −ε

0

µ

0

∂

2

E

∂t

2

.

70

Because ∇

E = 0 in the vacuum, it follows at once that

∇

2

E =

1

c

2

∂

2

E

∂t

2

, (18)

where

c

2

=

1

ε

0

µ

0

.

The parameter c has the dimensions of velocity and is numerically equal

to 3 10

8

ms

−1

.

Equation (18) is the standard form of a three-dimensional vector wave equa-

tion. Following the same procedure, we can easily show that the magnetic

ﬁeld

B satisﬁes the same equation. The proof is left to the student.

6.2 Plane Wave Solution to the Wave Equation

The wave equation in a vacuum is

∇

2

X =

1

c

2

∂

2

X

∂t

2

for

X ≡

E,

B.

We will solve the wave equation in one dimension assuming that the wave

propagates in the z direction.

In this case, ∂/∂x = ∂/∂y ≡ 0, and then

∇

2

=

∂

2

∂x

2

+

∂

2

∂y

2

+

∂

2

∂z

2

=

∂

2

∂z

2

.

The diﬀerential equations for

E and

B both have the same form:

∂

2

X

∂z

2

=

1

c

2

∂

2

X

∂t

2

.

Such an equation has solutions of the form

X = f(z ±ct) , (19)

71

where f is an arbitrary function with the argument z ±ct.

This solution represents a signal propagating with speed c as can be seen

from the following discussion:

Let X

0

= f(z

0

−ct

0

) i.e. it represents the solution X at t = t

0

and z = z

0

.

Now examine X at time ∆t later and distance ∆z further along in z. Since

a harmonic wave does not change in vacuum, we have

X

1

= f(z

0

+ ∆z −c(t

0

+ ∆t))

= f(z

0

−ct

0

) = X

0

when ∆z = c∆t ,

i.e. the signal propagates a distance ∆z = c∆t in time ∆t i.e. it propagates

with speed c.

Proof of solution (19):

Let f represent f(z −ct). Then

∂f

∂z

=

∂f

∂(z −ct)

∂(z −ct)

∂z

=

∂f

∂(z −ct)

= f

,

where ”

**” means diﬀerentiation wrt z −ct. Similarly
**

∂

2

f

∂z

2

=

∂f

∂z

=

∂f

∂(z −ct)

∂(z −ct)

∂z

= f

,

and

∂f

∂t

=

∂f

∂(z −ct)

∂(z −ct)

∂t

= −cf

.

Next

∂

2

f

∂t

2

= (−c)(−c)f

,

and consequently

∂

2

f

∂z

2

=

1

c

2

∂

2

f

∂t

2

.

72

Thus

c

2

=

1

ε

0

µ

0

→c =

1

√

ε

0

µ

0

,

which with the numerical values of the parameters

ε

0

· 8.85 10

−12

Fm

−1

, µ

0

= 4π 10

−7

Hm

−1

gives

c · 3 10

8

ms

−1

.

The fact that the numerical value of c is equal to the velocity of light in

vacuum led Maxwell to propose an electromagnetic theory of light, one of

the brilliant contributions to physics in the nineteenth century.

6.3 Harmonic Waves

In vacuum, we chose a plane wave representation for the propagating EM

wave. For a harmonic wave

c = νλ =

ω

k

, ω = 2πν, k =

2π

λ

,

where ν = frequency (Hz), λ = wavelength (m), ω = radian frequency (ra-

dians s

−1

), and k = propagation constant (m

−1

).

f(z −ct) = f(z −

ω

k

t) = f

1

(ωt −kz) .

A plane wave is represented by the electric ﬁeld

E =

E

0

e

i(ωt−kz)

, (20)

whose the propagation is characterized by the frequency ω and the wave

vector

k. Since the phase of the wave described by Eq. (20) is by deﬁnition

the argument of the exponent, we see that the surfaces of the constant phase

are planes whose normal is the z-axis:

i(ωt −kz) = iω

t −

z

c

73

given at any deﬁnite time by z = const. These surfaces of constant phase

travel with a constant velocity c often referred as the phase velocity of the

wave.

13

Therefore, the waves described by Eq. (20) are called plane waves.

6.4 The Transverse Nature of Plane Waves in Vacuum

We now investigate the relations between the amplitudes and phases of the

electric and magnetic ﬁelds in a plane harmonic wave. While it is true that

the magnetic ﬁeld satisﬁes the same wave equation as the electric ﬁeld, it

is not independent of the latter, since one must satisfy the Maxwell equa-

tions III and IV.

Since ∇

B = 0 always in electromagnetism, and

∇

B =

∂B

x

∂x

+

∂B

y

∂y

+

∂B

z

∂z

= 0 + 0 +

∂B

z

∂z

for a plane wave propagating in the z direction, we have

∂B

z

∂z

= 0 .

However, for a plane wave

∂B

z

∂z

= −ikB

z

.

Hence, the rhs must be zero, which means that either k = 0 (zero frequency)

or B

z

= 0 (transverse wave).

For a propagating wave k = 0, so the wave is transverse in

B.

In a vacuum ∇

E = 0 and then by the same argument we conclude that

the plane wave is also transverse in

E. In other cases in electromagnetism

13

Note that some textbooks on electromagnetism, for engineers in particular, use the

letter j instead of i for the imaginary number. We will use i throughout this lecture notes.

74

(e.g. for a plasma in a magnetic ﬁeld) a plane wave may not be purely trans-

verse in

E.

In addition:

E ⊥

B for a plane EM wave in a vacuum.

Proof:

Consider a harmonic wave propagating parallel to the z axis. In this case

the ﬁeld components are of the forms

E =

E

0

e

i(ωt−kz)

,

B =

B

0

e

i(ωt−kz)

.

In order to prove the statement, we will use the Maxwell’s equation III

∇

E = −

∂

B

∂t

,

and expand it in Cartesian coordinates remembering that ∂/∂t ≡ iω

ˆ

i

ˆ

j

ˆ

k

∂

∂x

∂

∂y

∂

∂z

E

x

E

y

E

z

= −iω(B

x

ˆ

i + B

y

ˆ

j + B

z

ˆ

k) . (21)

For electromagnetic plane waves propagating along the z axis in a vacuum:

E

z

= B

z

= 0,

∂

∂x

=

∂

∂y

= 0,

∂

∂z

= −ik .

Hence, Eq. (21) reduces to

ˆ

i

ˆ

j

ˆ

k

0 0 −ik

E

x

E

y

0

= −iω(B

x

ˆ

i + B

y

ˆ

j) .

Expanding the determinant, and comparing the left and right-hand sides,

we ﬁnd

x component : ikE

y

= −iωB

x

⇒ B

x

= −

k

ω

E

y

,

y component : −ikE

x

= −iωB

y

⇒ B

y

=

k

ω

E

x

.

75

What does it tell us about the relation between

E and

B?

If we consider a scalar product

E

B, and use the above result, we ﬁnd

E

B = (

ˆ

iE

x

+

ˆ

jE

y

) (

ˆ

iB

x

+

ˆ

jB

y

)

= (

ˆ

iE

x

+

ˆ

jE

y

) (

ˆ

i

−k

ω

E

y

+

ˆ

j

k

ω

E

x

)

= −

k

ω

E

x

E

y

+

k

ω

E

x

E

y

= 0 .

This means that

E ⊥

B.

In addition, note that

E

B

=

ω

k

= c .

Thus, we may conclude that in the electromagnetic theory when E and B

are related, their ratio is always a velocity characteristic of the problem in

hand.

This is as far as Maxwell took the subject. It was for others like Heinrich

Hertz 1884 to show how to solve Maxwell’s equations with source terms ρ,

J

included (i.e. the generation of electromagnetic waves). We will consider

this later.

You should be aware that we have not derived Maxwell’s equations from the

static limits like Coulomb’s Law and the Biot-Savart Law. The solutions to

Maxwell’s equations include the static limits as special cases but many more.

Maxwell’s equations have the status of postulates suggested by experimental

results.

In summary, we have the following important results for related electric

and magnetic ﬁelds propagating in vacuum:

1. The electric and magnetic ﬁelds propagate in a form of plane waves,

so-called electromagnetic (EM) waves.

2. The plane EM wave is transverse in

E and

B, i.e. both ﬁelds are

perpendicular to the direction of propagation.

76

3. The electric and magnetic ﬁelds are perpendicular to each other.

4. The ratio E/B is constant and equal to the velocity of the wave, that

is equal to the speed of light in vacuum.

Exercise in class: Electric and magnetic ﬁelds of a plane wave

For a given electric ﬁeld polarized in x direction and prop-

agating in z direction

E = E

0

sin (ωt −kz)

ˆ

i ,

calculate

B from III and show that the ﬁelds represent

a plane electromagnetic wave propagating in vacuum, i.e.

they satisfy the Maxwell’s equations (14)−(17).

77

Revision questions

Question 1. Show that the Maxwell’s equations for the EM ﬁelds propagating

in vacuum can be reduced to two independent second order diﬀer-

ential equations, the so-called the wave equations.

Question 2. State the properties of an EM wave propagating in vacuum.

Question 3. How do we deﬁne phase velocity of an EM wave?

Question 4. The wave equations for the electric and magnetic ﬁelds propagating

in vacuum are independent of each other. How then the electric

and magnetic ﬁelds are related to each other? Explain.

Tutorial problems

Problem 6.1 Fields of a plane wave

A plane electromagnetic wave propagates in the z direction in

a vacuum. Its electric ﬁeld is polarized in the x direction and so

has the form:

E = E

0

sin(ωt −kz)

ˆ

i

(a) If the wave amplitude is 10 volts m

−1

and its frequency is 1

MHz, ﬁnd numerical values for E

0

, ω, k and the wavelength.

(b) Calculate ∇

E directly from the above expression for

E.

Plot

E and ∇

E as functions of z for t = 0 (on the same plot).

(c) Hence calculate the magnetic ﬁeld of the wave using the Maxwell

equation:

∂

B

∂t

= −∇

E .

78

(i) Show that

B varies in phase with

E.

(ii) Calculate the ratio E/B.

(d) Show that in the stated circumstances, the remaining Maxwell’s

equations should be:

∇

E = 0, ∇

B = 0, and ∇

B = ε

0

µ

0

∂

E

∂t

.

(e) Write expressions for

E and

B of a right-circularly polarized

plane wave having the same amplitude and frequency as the above

one.

Problem 6.2 EM wave in free space

An EM wave traveling in free space (ρ = 0,

J = 0) in the pos-

itive z direction is described by

E = E

0

cos (ωt −kz)

ˆ

i,

B = B

0

cos (ωt −kz)

ˆ

j,

where k, E

0

, and B

0

are constants. Under what circumstances do

these

E and

B ﬁelds satisfy all of Maxwell’s equations?

79

7 EM Theory and Einstein’s Special Theory

of Relativity

The purpose of this lecture is to test the laws of electromagnetism against

the principle of special relativity. We will demonstrate how one might infer

the law of Biot-Savart and in general relate the magnetic ﬁeld to electric

ﬁeld from application of special relativity to Coulomb law. Special relativ-

ity, formulated in 1905, grew out of Einstein’s meditation on electromagnetic

theory and the properties of space and time. Historically, the insights of

Einstein’s theory follow after electromagnetism. Logically however, special

relativity contains more general statements about nature than electromag-

netism. Electromagnetic ﬁeld theory is just one of a possible set of ﬁeld

theories that are compatible with the Einstein theory of space and time. It

is evident that relativistic eﬀects are important if we would have to calculate

the ﬁeld of a charge moving with a speed comparable to that of light. What

is not so obvious is that special relativity oﬀers insights into aspects of elec-

tromagnetic theory even in the case of the low speed charges we consider in

this course.

Two such aspects are:

(1) The unity of the electromagnetic ﬁeld i.e. the ﬁeld is a single entity

with 6 components (represented by two vectors

E and

B, each with three

components).

(2) Understanding the nature of causal relationships in electromagnetic the-

ory, e.g.

∇

E = −

∂

B

∂t

.

Does this mean that a time changing

B causes a spatially changing

E?

80

7.1 Lorentz Transformation Equations for Space and

Time

We will analyse how the fundamental laws of electromagnetism change when

charges move with a constant velocity. In particular, we will show that the

Maxwell’s equations are derived from the Coulomb’s law. Thus, the student

will learnt that the whole electromagnetism follows naturally from electro-

statics. In our calculations, we will follow the principle of special relativity.

The principle of special relativity

1. The laws of physics are the same in all inertial reference frames.

2. The speed of light in vacuum is independent of the uniform motion of the

observer or source.

Figure 22: Two inertial reference

frames in relative motion. A stationary

frame S and a frame S

moving with a

velocity v parallel to the x axis.

The constancy of the velocity of light, in-

dependent of the motion of the source,

gives rise to the relations between space

and time coordinates in diﬀerent inertial

reference frames known as Lorentz trans-

formations.

Consider a stationary reference frame S

and a inertial frame S

moving with a ve-

locity v parallel to the x axis, as shown in

Figure 22. Let x, y, z are coordinates in

the S frame and x

, y

, z

**are the coordi-
**

nates in the S

**frame. The time and space
**

coordinates in S

**are related to those in S
**

by the 1D Lorentz transformations:

x

= γ(x −vt) ,

y

= y ,

z

= z ,

t

= γ

t −

vx

c

2

,

81

where

γ =

1 −

v

2

c

2

−

1

2

is the Lorentz factor.

The above transformation corresponds to a situation of v parallel to the x

axis. Later in the course, Chap. 21, we will consider the general case of the

velocity v of the frame S

in an arbitrary direction.

7.2 Force Transformation Equations

Let us investigate the force between two charges as viewed by observers in S

and S

. We will evaluate the force from the point of view of the observer in S

.

Consider a particle which is moving with velocity u = u

x

ˆ

i + u

y

ˆ

j + u

z

ˆ

k in

the S frame and is acted on by a force with components F

x

, F

y

and F

z

. Then,

according to the special theory of relativity, the force in the S

frame is

F

x

= F

x

−

vu

y

c

2

(1 −

vux

c

2

)

F

y

−

vu

z

c

2

(1 −

vux

c

2

)

F

z

,

F

y

=

(1 −

u

2

c

2

)

1

2

1 −

vux

c

2

F

y

=

F

y

γ(1 −

vux

c

2

)

,

F

z

=

(1 −

v

2

c

2

)

1

2

1 −

vux

c

2

F

z

=

F

z

γ(1 −

vux

c

2

)

.

Suppose F

x

, F

y

, F

z

represents the velocity independent Coulomb force. Then

in the S

**frame (source of the ﬁeld now moving) the force is no longer veloc-
**

ity independent. Thus, the observers disagree about the magnitude of the

force. They, in fact, disagree not only about the magnitude but also about

the origin of the force. In electromagnetic theory we say that there is now a

magnetic force and we deﬁne a magnetic ﬁeld

B that determines the mag-

netic force.

We now present a detailed calculation that illustrates how the form of the

Maxwell’s equations is determined by nature obeying Einstein’s special the-

ory of relativity.

82

7.2.1 The Force between Two Charges Moving with Constant Ve-

locities

Invariance of electric charge

In ordinary matter, electrons move with much greater speeds than protons

yet there is no associated electric ﬁeld. This implies that electric charge is

independent of velocity unless electromagnetic laws modiﬁed in some compli-

cated way (see discussion by King in Physical Review Letters 5, 562 (1960)).

Figure 23: Two moving charges seen in two

diﬀerent reference frames.

Consider charges q

1

and q

2

moving

with velocities u and v in an iner-

tial frame S. No loss of generality

occurs if v is taken parallel to the x

axis.

Now consider a frame S

moving

with velocity v along x axis, that q

2

is stationary in S

. Assume that at

time t = 0, the frames S and S

overlap.

From the principle of relativity, in

the S

**frame Coulombs law holds.
**

The force on q

1

seen in S

is therefore

F

=

1

4πε

0

q

1

q

2

r

3

r

.

We shall transform this expression to ﬁnd the force observed in the S frame

in which the source of the ﬁeld (q

2

) is moving.

We shall see that what we normally call the MAGNETIC FIELD arises

as a natural consequence of relativistic invariance with no extra assumptions.

We start with the x component of the force, that is

F

x

=

1

4πε

0

q

1

q

2

r

3

x

,

83

and similarly for y and z.

We need transformations of x

to x and r

to r. The transformation of x

to x

is found from the Lorentz transformations that at t = 0 are

x

= γx ,

y

= y ,

z

= z ,

t

= −γ

vx

c

2

.

To do the complete transformation of the force component, we also need

transformation from r

**to r. It can be found as follows. It is seen from
**

Figure 23 that there is an “axial symmetry”, so that the transformation

could be expressed in terms of the angle θ. Thus, we can write

r

2

= x

2

+ y

2

+ z

2

= γ

2

x

2

+ y

2

+ z

2

= γ

2

x

2

+

y

2

+ z

2

γ

2

= γ

2

¸

x

2

+

1 −

v

2

c

2

y

2

+ z

2

¸

= γ

2

¸

x

2

+ y

2

+ z

2

−

v

2

c

2

y

2

+ z

2

¸

= γ

2

r

2

−

v

2

c

2

r

2

sin

2

θ

= γ

2

r

2

1 −

v

2

c

2

sin

2

θ

,

where sin θ =

(y

2

+ z

2

)/r. Hence

r

= γr

1 −

v

2

c

2

sin

2

θ

1

2

.

Thus, substituting the transformations into F

x

, we obtain

F

x

=

1

4πε

0

q

1

q

2

γx

γ

3

r

3

1 −

v

2

c

2

sin

2

θ

3

2

= q

1

gx ,

where

g =

1

4πε

0

q

2

γ

2

r

3

1 −

v

2

c

2

sin

2

θ

3

2

.

84

Similarly for the remaining two components, we ﬁnd

F

y

=

q

1

gy

γ

, F

z

=

q

1

gz

γ

.

In summary, the force transformations are

a) x component

F

x

= F

x

−

vu

y

c

2

1 −

vux

c

2

F

y

−

vu

z

c

2

1 −

vux

c

2

F

z

.

Thus

q

1

gx = F

x

−

vu

y

c

2

1 −

vux

c

2

F

y

−

vu

z

c

2

1 −

vux

c

2

F

z

.

b) y component

F

y

=

F

y

γ

1 −

vux

c

2

,

from which we ﬁnd

F

y

= γ

1 −

vu

x

c

2

F

y

= γ

1 −

vu

x

c

2

q

1

gy

γ

,

which we can write as

F

y

= q

1

gy

1 −

vu

x

c

2

.

c) z component

F

z

= q

1

gz

1 −

vu

x

c

2

.

Substituting for F

y,z

in x equation

F

x

= q

1

gx + q

1

gy

vu

y

c

2

+ q

1

gz

vu

z

c

2

.

Note: Here is the germ of the magnetic ﬁeld. The last two terms are typical

second order relativistic terms ≈ v

2

/c

2

. In a nonrelativistic calculation we

85

would have F

x

= F

x

.

We now combine results a), b) and c) into a single vector equation for the

force

F. First, note that

vu

x

= u v .

Next, we can write the x component as

F

x

= q

1

gx

1 −

vu

x

c

2

+ q

1

gx

vu

x

c

2

+ q

1

gy

vu

y

c

2

+ q

1

gz

vu

z

c

2

= q

1

g

1 −

vu

x

c

2

x + q

1

g

v

c

2

(u r)

and with the y and z components

F

y

= q

1

g

1 −

vu

x

c

2

y ,

F

z

= q

1

g

1 −

vu

x

c

2

z ,

these three components combine into

F = q

1

g

1 −

v u

c

2

r + q

1

g

v

c

2

(u r)

= q

1

gr +

q

1

g

c

2

[v (u r) −r (u v)] ,

which can be written as

F = q

1

gr +

q

1

g

c

2

u (v r) .

We can write this equation in the form of the Lorentz force

F = q

1

E +u

B

,

where

E = gr =

1

4πε

0

q

2

γ

2

r

3

1 −

v

2

c

2

sin

2

θ

3

2

r ,

and

B =

v gr

c

2

=

v

E

c

2

. (22)

86

Thus, a force which we see in the moving frame S

**as the Coulomb force
**

appears as the Lorentz force in the stationary frame S.

The relation (22) shows that

B and

E have no independent existence. A

pure electric ﬁeld in one coordinate frame appears as a mixture of electric

and magnetic ﬁelds in another coordinate frame.

Note that as v →0, γ →1, and then

E →

1

4πε

0

q

2

r

3

r .

Moreover, the ration of magnitudes of magnetic to electric term in the force

equation is uv/c

2

, i.e. magnetic forces are second order relativistic eﬀects.

7.3 Electric Field Lines of a Moving Charge

Let β = v/c. Then, we can write the electric ﬁeld as

E =

1

4πε

0

q(1 −β

2

)

r

2

1 −β

2

sin

2

θ

3

2

ˆ r .

Figure 24: Electric ﬁeld lines of the sta-

tionary charge and the charge moving with

uniform velocity v.

For a given θ, the electric ﬁeld E

still varies as 1/r

2

, but the ﬁeld

lines are crowded in the direction per-

pendicular to v, as shown in Fig-

ure 24.

In the forward direction θ = 0, and

then

E =

1

4πε

0

q(1 −β

2

)

r

2

< E

s

,

where E

s

is the electric ﬁeld of the sta-

tionary charge, i.e. the static electric

ﬁeld (at v = 0). Thus, the ﬁeld ampli-

tude is lower in the direction of motion

relative to the static ﬁeld amplitude.

87

In the perpendicular direction θ = π/2, and then

E =

1

4πε

0

q

r

2

1 −β

2

−

1

2

> E

s

.

Thus, the ﬁeld amplitude is larger in the transverse directions relative to the

to the static ﬁeld amplitude.

14

In summary, the electric ﬁeld lines radiate from the present position of the

charge and are crowded in the direction perpendicular to the direction of

motion of the charge.

7.4 Magnetic Field Lines of a Moving Charge

From the relation between electric and magnetic ﬁelds, we ﬁnd

B =

v

E

c

2

=

1

4πε

0

q(1 −β

2

) v r

c

2

r

3

1 −β

2

sin

2

θ

3

2

.

Figure 25: Magnetic ﬁeld lines of the

charge moving with uniform velocity v.

In order to ﬁnd the direction of the

magnetic ﬁeld, we refer to the spheri-

cal polar coordinates, and ﬁnd that

B = B

r

ˆ r + B

θ

ˆ

θ + B

φ

ˆ

φ = B

φ

ˆ

φ ,

since

B ∼ v r, and ˆ r,

ˆ

θ,

ˆ

φ are unit

vectors.

Thus, the magnetic ﬁeld lines form

concentric rings about v, and there is

symmetry about the plane θ = π/2. In

the non-relativistic case of v < 1 the

factor β → 0, and then the magnetic

ﬁeld reduces to

B =

1

4πε

0

q v r

c

2

r

3

,

14

An interesting question: What is the electric ﬁeld distribution of a charge moving with

velocity v = c?

88

which is the Biot-Savart law. Applied to a continuous line current I:

B =

1

4πε

0

I

dl r

c

2

r

3

.

The constant 1/(ε

0

c

2

) is normally written µ

0

- the magnetic permeability of

free space.

7.5 Invariance of the Maxwell equations under the Lorentz

transformation

According to the principles of relativity, the laws of physics are invariant un-

der the Lorentz transformation. In this lecture, we will show that the basic

equations for the electromagnetic theory, the Maxwell’s equations, are invari-

ant under the Lorentz transformation, i.e. they represent laws of physics.

(1) Equation for the total electric ﬂux

Consider the total electric ﬂux through a surface S closing a moving charge q:

Ψ

E

=

S

E ˆ n dS .

Figure 26: Evaluation of the total electric

ﬂux through a surface S closing a moving

charge.

We will use the axial symmetry and

break sphere up into rings, as shown

in Figure 26, lying between θ and θ +

dθ. The radius of a ring seen

from the center under the angle θ

is r sin θ, and the width of the ring

is rdθ.

Since

E has a radial symmetry,

E | ˆ n

everywhere, and then the ﬂux dΨ

E

is

dΨ

E

=

E ˆ n dS = EdS . (23)

However, the area of the ring (stripe)

between θ and θ + dθ is equal to

dS = 2π(r sin θ) rdθ = 2πr

2

sin θdθ .

89

Hence, substituting this result into Eq. (23) and the explicit form of E, we

ﬁnd that the ﬂux through the ring is

dΨ

E

=

1

4πε

0

q(1 −β

2

)

r

2

1 −β

2

sin

2

θ

3

2

2πr

2

sin θdθ

=

q(1 −β

2

)

2ε

0

sin θdθ

1 −β

2

sin

2

θ

3

2

.

This gives the total ﬂux through the surface S:

Ψ

E

=

dΨ

E

=

q(1 −β

2

)

2ε

0

π

θ=0

sin θdθ

1 −β

2

sin

2

θ

3

2

.

To calculate the integral, put cos θ = x, so that sin θdθ = −dx, and then

I = −

dx

(1 −β

2

+ β

2

x

2

)

3/2

= −

1

β

3

dx

1−β

2

β

2

+ x

2

3/2

= −

1

β

3

dx

(a

2

+ x

2

)

3/2

,

where a =

√

1 −β

2

/β. Performing the integration, we obtain

I = −

1

a

2

β

3

x

(a

2

+ x

2

)

1/2

,

and ﬁnally including the limits of the integral, we get

I = −

−1

1

dx

(1 −β

2

+ β

2

x

2

)

3/2

= −

1

a

2

β

3

−1

√

a

2

+ 1

+

1

a

2

β

3

1

√

a

2

+ 1

=

2

1 −β

2

.

Thus, the total ﬂux through the surface is

Ψ

E

=

q(1 −β

2

)

2ε

0

2

1 −β

2

=

q

ε

0

,

90

which is the same as for a stationary charge.

Hence, the electric ﬁeld produced by a moving charge satisﬁes the Gauss’s law.

If we apply the Gauss’ theorem to Ψ

E

, we get

∇

E =

ρ

ε

0

.

Thus, we conclude that the Gauss’ law (Maxwell’s equation I) is invariant

under the Lorentz transformation.

(2) Magnetic ﬂux through a closed surface

Consider the magnetic ﬂux through a closed surface

Ψ

M

=

B ˆ n dS .

If we choose a sphere centered on q to calculate the integral, we ﬁnd that

B is

perpendicular to ˆ n everywhere on the sphere, i.e. is tangential to the surface

of the sphere. Thus, the ﬂux through the sphere Ψ

M

= 0.

Similarly, we can show that ∇

B = 0 always. It is easy to see that

∇

B =

1

c

2

∇

v

E

=

1

c

2

E ∇v −v ∇

E

= 0 ,

since ∇v = 0 as v is constant, and v is perpendicular to ∇

E.

Thus, we conclude that the Maxwell’s equation II is invariant under the

Lorentz transformation.

(3) Spatial

E derivative related to temporal

B derivative.

We shall show that for a point charge under uniform velocity

∇

E = −

∂

B

∂t

.

91

To do it, we write ∇

E in spherical polar coordinates

∇

E =

ˆ r

r sin θ

¸

∂ (sin θE

φ

)

∂θ

−

∂E

θ

∂φ

¸

+

ˆ

θ

r

¸

1

sin θ

∂E

r

∂φ

−

∂ (rE

φ

)

∂r

¸

+

ˆ

φ

r

¸

∂ (rE

θ

)

∂r

−

∂E

r

∂θ

¸

.

Since the electric ﬁeld has a radial symmetry, we have

E

θ

= E

φ

= 0 ,

and because the electric ﬁeld amplitude dependes only on r and θ, we get

∇

E = −

1

r

∂E

r

∂θ

ˆ

φ ,

where

E

r

=

1

4πε

0

q(1 −β

2

)

r

2

1 −β

2

sin

2

θ

3

2

=

K

1 −β

2

sin

2

θ

3

2

.

Calculate ∂E

r

/∂θ:

∂E

r

∂θ

=

−

3

2

K

1 −β

2

sin

2

θ

−

5

2

−2β

2

sin θ cos θ

=

3Kβ

2

sin 2θ

2

1 −β

2

sin

2

θ

5

2

.

Hence

∇

E = −

1

4πε

0

3q(1 −β

2

)

2r

3

β

2

sin 2θ

1 −β

2

sin

2

θ

5

2

ˆ

φ .

To calculate ∂

**B/∂t, we use the theorem of partial derivatives. If
**

y = f(x, t)

92

then from the maximum change of y

dy =

∂y

∂x

dx +

∂y

∂t

dt = 0 ,

we obtain

∂y

∂t

= −

∂y

∂x

∂x

∂t

.

Thus

∂

B

∂t

= −v

∂

B

∂x

.

Alternatively, to see this “physically”, remember that the ﬁeld pattern moves

with constant velocity v. Let a stationary observer measure the change in the

ﬁeld

B in a time interval dt. This change is the same as he would observed

at a ﬁxed time by moving a distance dx = −vdt, i.e.

d

B in dt ≡ d

B in dx = −vdt .

Hence

∂

B

∂x

= −

∂

B

v∂t

,

and then

∂

B

∂t

= −v

∂

B

∂x

.

Now

B =

1

4πε

0

q(1 −β

2

) v sin θ

c

2

r

2

1 −β

2

sin

2

θ

3

2

ˆ

φ

and

∂

B

∂x

=

∂B

φ

∂x

ˆ

φ =

∂B

φ

∂r

∂r

∂x

ˆ

φ .

Since

sin θ =

√

y

2

+ z

2

r

=

a

r

,

93

we can write B

φ

as

B

φ

=

Ka

r

3

1 −

β

2

a

2

r

2

3/2

=

Ka

(r

2

−β

2

a

2

)

3/2

,

where

K =

1

4πε

0

q(1 −β

2

)v

c

2

and a =

y

2

+ z

2

.

Next

∂r

∂x

=

∂ (x

2

+ y

2

+ z

2

)

1/2

∂x

=

1

2

x

2

+ y

2

+ z

2

−1/2

2x =

x

r

= cos θ ,

∂B

φ

∂r

= Ka

−

3

2

r

2

−β

2

a

2

−5/2

2r = −

3Ka r

(r

2

−β

2

a

2

)

5/2

.

Hence

∂B

φ

∂x

= −

1

4πε

0

3q(1 −β

2

) vr

2

sin θ cos θ

c

2

r

5

1 −β

2

sin

2

θ

5

2

= −

1

4πε

0

3q(1 −β

2

) v sin 2θ

2c

2

r

3

1 −β

2

sin

2

θ

5

2

,

and then

∂

B

∂t

= −v

∂B

φ

∂x

ˆ

φ =

1

4πε

0

3q(1 −β

2

) v

2

sin 2θ

2c

2

r

3

1 −β

2

sin

2

θ

5

2

ˆ

φ

=

1

4πε

0

3q(1 −β

2

)β

2

sin 2θ

2r

3

1 −β

2

sin

2

θ

5

2

ˆ

φ .

Comparing with ∇

E, we see that

∇

E = −

∂

B

∂t

.

Thus, we conclude that the Faraday’s Law (Maxwell’s equation III) is invari-

ant under the Lorentz transformation.

94

7.5.1 Remark on the Electromagnetic Induction

It has been known since about 1831 when Faraday ﬁrst waved a magnet

near an electric circuit and played with transformers that when the magnetic

ﬂux through a circuit changes, an electromotive force (emf) c appears in it.

Faraday gave the rule

c = −

∂Φ

M

∂t

.

The nature of this “phenomenon” is, however often misinterpreted.

Figure 27: Contour for evaluation of an

electromotive force.

Consider a point charge q moving

near a closed circuit as shown in

Figure 27. Because of the θ de-

pendence of E, the electric ﬁeld

on side (1) is larger than that

on side (2). Thus, there is a

net driving force round the cir-

cuit.

Calculate the resulting electromotive

force in the circuit, which is equal to

the work done on a charge q

in the

circuit

c = W

q

=

F

dl

q

=

(

E +u

B)

dl ,

where u is the velocity of the charge q

in the circuit.

Now, since u

B is perpendicular to both u and

B, it is also perpendicular

to

dl, and then

u

B

dl = 0 .

Hence

c =

E

dl =

∇

E ˆ n dS =

∇

E

dS .

95

If we now take the conclusion that where is a spatially varying electric ﬁeld

there is also a time varying magnetic ﬁeld, we obtain

c = −

∂

B

∂t

dS = −

∂

∂t

B

dS = −

∂Ψ

M

∂t

.

However, it is obvious in this example that the changing magnetic ﬂux is not

the CAUSE of the emf. The changing magnetic ﬁeld and the electric ﬁeld

have a common CAUSE through the charge q.

We can conclude that: Electric and magnetic ﬁelds do not produce

each other - they are both due to electric charges.

It is often thought in the textbooks, however that e.g. in a transformer the

changing Ψ

M

produces c. It happens because the ﬂux cutting rule is an

extremely powerful one for calculating the integrated electric ﬁeld of electric

currents.

The Faraday’s rule c = −∂Φ

M

/∂t, which arises from ∇

E = −∂

B/∂t

should not be thought of as a casual relationship. What it means is that if

a charge moving with a constant velocity produces a time varying magnetic

ﬁeld then that charge also produces a spatially varying electric ﬁeld.

(4) Relation between spatial variation of

B and temporal variation

of

E.

Since

B =

v

E

c

2

,

and

∇

v

E

=

E ∇

v −(v ∇)

E +v

∇

E

−

E (∇ v) ,

with v constant, we obtain

∇ v = 0 ,

E ∇

v = 0 .

96

Then

∇

B =

1

c

2

∇

v

E

=

1

c

2

−(v ∇)

E +v

∇

E

¸

.

Thus,

(v ∇)

E =

v

x

∂

∂x

+ v

y

∂

∂y

+ v

z

∂

∂z

E = v

∂

E

∂x

= −

∂

E

∂t

as

v

x

= v v

y

= v

z

= 0 and

∂

∂t

= −v

∂

∂x

.

Hence

∇

B =

1

c

2

¸

v ∇

E +

∂

E

∂t

¸

.

If we recognize that

∇

E =

ρ

ε

0

and next that vρ =

J and 1/c

2

ε

0

= µ

0

, we get the Maxwell’s equation IV.

Thus, we may conclude that the Maxwell’s equation IV is invariant under

the Lorentz transformation.

In summary:

Maxwell’s equations for a point charge moving with uniform velocity are

∇

E =

ρ

ε

0

,

∇

B = 0 ,

∇

E = −

∂

B

∂t

,

∇

B = µ

0

J +

1

c

2

∂

E

∂t

.

97

These equations arise from the necessity for the correct relativistic trans-

formations between frames in uniform relative motion. This shows that

the Maxwell’s equations are invariant under the Lorentz transfor-

mation. If the postulates of relativity are correct and Coulomb’s law gives

the ﬁeld of a stationary charge, these equations follow, and the force on a

charge is

F = q

E +v

B

.

Revision questions

Question 1. State the principle of special relativity.

Question 2. Is the Coulomb’s law for moving charges equivalent to the Lorentz

force?

Question 3. Are the electric and magnetic ﬁelds invariant under the Lorentz

transformation? Explain.

Question 4. Are the Maxwell’s equations invariant under the Lorentz transfor-

mation?

Question 5. Why the Faraday’s law is often misinterpreted? What is the correct

interpretation of the the Faraday’s law?

98

8 Energy in the Electromagnetic Field:

Poyntings’ Theorem

Energy may be transported through space by means of electromagnetic waves.

We expect energy ﬂow in the direction of propagation of the wave,

E

B, as

illustrated in Figure 28. In this lecture, we will derive an expression for the

rate of the energy ﬂow with a traveling EM wave. We will use the Maxwell

equations to derive this expression, which at the same time will show that

the Maxwell equations are consistent with the law of conservation of energy.

Figure 28: Direction of the

E

B vec-

tor of the ﬁeld components of a plane

wave.

We know from the circuit theory that

the power (energy) ﬂow is related to the

product of voltage and current

P = V I .

We will show that in the ﬁeld theory,

where everything is expressed in terms

of the electric and magnetic ﬁeld ampli-

tudes, the power ﬂow across an element

of area d

S is given by

c

2

ε

0

E

B d

S ,

where S is a closed surface bounding a volume V containing a source of

an EM ﬁeld.

If the ﬁeld propagates in the direction determined by the cross product

E

B,

consider the source of the ﬁeld, i.e. consider the expression

∇ (

E

B) . (24)

If we employ the vector identity

∇ (

E

B) =

B ∇

E −

E ∇

B

and use the Maxwell equations III and IV:

∇

E = −

∂

B

∂t

and ∇

B = µ

0

J + ε

0

µ

0

∂

E

∂t

,

99

we then may write Eq. (24) as

∇ (

E

B) = −

B

∂

B

∂t

−µ

0

E

J −ε

0

µ

0

E

∂

E

∂t

,

or in the form

1

µ

0

∇ (

E

B) = −

E

J −

∂

∂t

1

2

ε

0

E

2

+

1

2

B

2

µ

0

.

On the left-hand side, we put 1/µ

0

= ε

0

c

2

and integrate the equation over

some closed surface S enclosing a volume V . Then, we obtain

V

ε

0

c

2

∇ (

E

B) dV = −

V

E

J dV −

∂

∂t

V

1

2

ε

0

E

2

+

1

2

B

2

µ

0

dV . (25)

Now we apply Gauss’s theorem to the left-hand side of the above equation,

to convert the volume integral into the closed surface integral, and ﬁnd

S

ε

0

c

2

(

E

B) ˆ ndS ←− Energy ﬂux

= −

V

E

J dV ←− Rate of doing work by ﬁeld on the current

−

∂

∂t

V

1

2

ε

0

E

2

+

1

2

B

2

µ

0

**dV ←− Field energy. (26)
**

In words, this equation states that the instantaneous ﬂow of power

across a closed surface S is equal to the time rate of decrease of the

energy stored in the ﬁeld in the interior of S plus the power loss due

to the work on current

J, conducting charges, within the volume V .

The above interpretation of the three terms in this equation can be justiﬁed

in the following way.

100

8.1 Rate of Doing Work by the Field on the Current

– Ohmic Heating

Consider ﬁrst the second term: −

V

E

J dV . We will prove that this term

is equal to the rate of doing work by the electric ﬁeld on the current that,

in other words, it is the ohmic heating. Simply, it shows that the power

produced by a surce contained inside the volume can be converted into the

ohmic power dissipated inside the volume.

We start our calculations from the circuit theory where we express all the

circuit variables in terms of the ﬁeld variables.

Figure 29: Illustration of a current I

ﬂowing through a resistive medium of a

length and cross section A.

From the circuit theory, we know that

in a resistive medium, as shown in Fig-

ure 29, the Ohm’s Law is: V = IR and

R = 1/A, where 1 is the resistivity

of the medium, I is the current ﬂowing

through the medium and A is the area

through which the current is ﬂowing.

Thus, we can write the current as

I = V/R = (V A)/(1) .

Since

E = −∇V , so that E = V/ and

then we can ﬁnd the current density

through the area A, and write it in terms of the ﬁeld variable E as

J = I/A =

1

1

E .

Deﬁning the conductivity σ = 1/1, the current density can be written as

I/A = J = σE .

Having the current density expressed in terms of the ﬁeld variable E, we

can calculate the rate of conversion (dissipation) of the electromagnetic ﬁeld

energy into heat

H = IV =

V

2

R

=

E

2

2

1

A

= σE

2

A = σE

2

1 ,

101

where 1 = A is the volume of the resistive medium. Hence, the energy

dissipated per unit volume is

H

1

= σE

2

= E J =

E

J .

Thus,

E

J is the rate of heating per unit volume in this case.

8.2 Electrostatic Field Energy Density

We now show that the term

V

1

2

ε

0

E

2

dV represents energy contained in the

electric ﬁeld E, so that

−

∂

∂t

V

1

2

ε

0

E

2

dV

is the time rate of decrease of the energy stored in the electric ﬁeld.

Again, we start from the circuit theory from which we know that capacitors

are devices where electric ﬁeld energy can be stored. Thus, consider the work

required to charge a capacitor of a capacitance C to a voltage V

W =

1

2

CV

2

.

According to the ﬁeld theory of electromagnetism this work done corresponds

to conversion from some other form of energy into electrostatic ﬁeld energy

c = W =

1

2

CV

2

and C =

ε

0

A

d

.

Since the electric ﬁeld in the capacitor is given by E = V/d, we obtain

c =

1

2

ε

0

A

d

E

2

d

2

=

1

2

ε

0

E

2

1 ,

where 1 = Ad is the volume of the capacitor. Hence

c

1

=

1

2

ε

0

E

2

is the energy per unit volume contained in or carried out by the electric

ﬁeld E.

102

8.3 Magnetostatic Field Energy Density

We now show that the term

V

B

2

/(2µ

0

)dV represents energy contained in

the magnetic ﬁeld B, so that

−

∂

∂t

V

1

2

B

2

µ

0

dV

is the time rate of decrease of the energy stored in the magnetic ﬁeld.

As before, we refer to the circuit theory from which it is well known that a

solenoid is a device where the magnetic ﬁeld energy can be stored. Thus,

the work required to energize an inductor of inductance L to a current I is

c =

1

2

LI

2

and that the magnetic ﬁeld within a long solenoid of self-inductance

L = µ

0

n

2

A is B = µ

0

nI. According to the ﬁeld theory of electromagnetism

this work done corresponds to transformation of some other form of energy

to magnetic ﬁeld energy.

Thus, for a solenoid of length and area of cross section A we have energy

c = W =

1

2

LI

2

=

1

2

µ

0

n

2

AI

2

=

1

2

(µ

0

nI)

2

A

1

µ

0

=

1

2

B

2

µ

0

1 ,

oand then energy per unit volume is

c

1

=

1

2

B

2

µ

0

.

This is the energy per unit volume contained in or carried out by the mag-

netic ﬁeld B.

8.4 Poynting Vector

Since the right-hand side of Eq. (26) represents the rate of increase of the

electric and magnetic energies stored in the EM ﬁeld and substracted by

the ohmic power dissipated as heat, the left-hand side must be equal (in

103

consistency with the law of conservation of energy) to the power ﬂowing into

the volume through its surface. Thus, the expression

N = ε

0

c

2

(

E

B)

is a vector representing the power ﬂow per unit area, and is referred to as

the Poynting vector.

It represents the energy ﬂux in the electromagnetic ﬁeld, i.e. the energy ﬂow

per unit area (measured normal to the ﬂow) per unit time.

The quantity N has dimension of power per square meter. It is easy to see:

E has the dimension of volts per meter, ε

0

c

2

B has dimension of amper per

meter. Thus, the Poynting vector has dimension volts amper/(square me-

ter) = Watts/(square meter).

The energy ﬂow equation can be converted into the form of a diﬀerential

continuity equation or energy conservation law. From Eq. (25), we have

∂U

∂t

+∇

N = −

J

E ,

where

U =

1

2

ε

0

E

2

+

1

2

B

2

µ

0

(27)

is the energy density of the EM ﬁeld.

The physical meaning of the diﬀerential continuity equation is that the time

rate of change of electromagnetic energy within a certain volume, plus the

energy ﬂowing out through the boundary surface of the volume is equal to

the negative of the total work done by the ﬁelds on the source inside the vol-

ume. Thus.

J

E is a conversion of electromagnetic energy into heat energy.

Equation (27) shows that we consider the energy stored in electric and mag-

netic ﬁelds as distributed throughout the region of space where these ﬁelds

are present with densities ε

0

E

2

/2 and B

2

/2µ

0

, respectively.

104

8.5 Phase Relationships in EM Waves

Here, we will show that only the in-phase components of

E and

B contribute

to net energy ﬂow averaged over a whole cycle of the radiation. If somehow,

the ﬁelds would oscillate with diﬀerent phases, no energy can be transported.

Consider orthogonal ﬁelds

E and

B oscillating in phase. Thus, if

E =

E

0

cos(ωt)

ˆ

i and

B = B

0

cos(ωt)

ˆ

j then:

N = ε

0

c

2

E

B = ε

0

c

2

E

0

B

0

cos

2

(ωt)

ˆ

k .

Since, cos

2

(ωt) =

1

2

, we obtain

N =

1

2

ε

0

c

2

E

0

B

0

= ε

0

c

2

E

rms

B

rms

,

where E

rms

= E

0

/

√

2 and B

rms

= B

0

/

√

2.

Hence, the average Pointing vector is diﬀerent from zero indicating that the

orthogonal ﬁelds

E and

B oscillating in phase can transport energy.

If, however,

E = E

0

cos(ωt)

ˆ

i and

B = B

0

sin(ωt)

ˆ

j then:

N = ε

0

c

2

E

B = ε

0

c

2

E

0

B

0

cos(ωt) sin(ωt)

ˆ

k .

Since, cos(ωt) sin(ωt) = 0, we have N = 0.

Hence, the average Pointing vector is zero indicating that the orthogonal

ﬁelds

E and

B oscillating out of phase phase cannot transport energy.

In summary, electromagnetic waves in which the

E and

B ﬁelds oscillate

in phase can transport energy.

8.6 Momentum Flux

It should be noted here, that EM waves can transport not only energy but

also momentum.

105

To obtain an expression for the momentum carried by the electromagnetic

ﬁeld, we may employ the relativistic energy-momentum relationship

c

2

= p

2

c

2

+ m

2

0

c

4

.

Since for electromagnetic radiation m

0

= 0, we obtain

p =

c

c

.

Thus the momentum ﬂux of the electromagnetic ﬁeld is:

´=

ε

0

c

2

E

B

c

= ε

0

c

E

B ,

which leads to the conclusion that electromagnetic waves transport not only

energy, whose the ﬂow is given by the Poynting vector, but also momentum.

8.7 EM Energy Flow: Circuit versus Field Theory

We now consider simple examples illustrating applications of the Poynting

vector to some familiar circuit problems to show how the ﬁeld theory provides

an alternative (surprising!) way of viewing the energy transfer through the

circuits.

8.7.1 Energy Flow in a Resistive Wire

As a ﬁrst example, consider a wire (resistor) of length , carrying a current I,

as shown in Figure 30.

Figure 30: A resistive wire of length

carrying a current I.

Let V is a potential diﬀerence ap-

plied along a resistive wire. We cal-

culate the power dissipated in the

wire using the circuit theory, and next

will compare the formalism with that

used in the ﬁeld theory. We are

particularly interested in the predic-

tion of the two theories of the direc-

tion of energy ﬂow through the cir-

cuit.

106

Circuit theory calculation:

According to circuit theory the power dissipated in the wire is

P = V I = I

2

R ,

where I is the current ﬂowing through the wire and R is the resistance of

the wire. Since R is proportional to the length of the wire, a more power

(energy) is dissipated for a longer wire. Thus, according to the circuit theory,

energy ﬂows along the wire.

Field theory calculation:

Let us now look at the same problem from the point of view of the ﬁeld

theory. According to electromagnetic ﬁeld theory, the direction of the ﬂow

of energy is described by the Poynting vector

N = ε

0

c

2

E

B.

Figure 31: Directions of the electric and

magnetic ﬁelds produced by a wire and the

direction of the resulting Poynting vector.

In order to ﬁnd the direction of the

Poynting vector, we calculate the di-

rections of propagation of the electric

and magnetic ﬁelds produced by the

current. The electric ﬁeld propagates

along the wire, as shown in Figure 31,

and is given by

E = −∇V (z) =

V (z)

ˆ z .

From the Amperes line integral the-

orem, we ﬁnd that the the magnetic

ﬁeld propagates around the wire, and at points distant a from the wire is

B =

µ

0

I

2πa

ˆ

φ .

Hence, the Poynting vector is

N = ε

0

c

2

E

B = ε

0

c

2

V

µ

0

I

2πa

ˆ r =

V I

2πa

ˆ r ,

where we have used the relations ˆ z

ˆ

φ = ˆ r and ε

0

µ

0

c

2

= 1.

107

Thus, the ﬁeld theory predicts that energy ﬂows into the wire from the air

not along the wire. The energy is in the ﬁelds, the wire provides boundary

conditions and guides the ﬁelds.

The student may argue that the EM ﬁeld carries only a small part of the

energy dissipated in the wire. However, the total rate at which ﬁeld energy

ﬂows into the wire by crossing the surface of the wire is given by

S

N d

S =

N ˆ r dS =

N dS

side

= N

dS

side

=

V I

2πa

2πa = V I ,

(

N ⊥ d

**S on the ends of the cylinder), which is in agreement with the re-
**

sult of the circuit theory. This result demonstrates quantitatively that all the

power which heats the resistor enters through the sides not through the wires.

If the energy is in the ﬁelds, it means that the electromagnetic energy goes

out of a battery into the air, and then goes into the wire from the air. This

is exactly the case we will show in the following example.

8.7.2 Energy Flow out of Battery

In the above example, we have shown that according to the ﬁeld theory, the

energy enters the resistor from the air.

Figure 32: Directions of the current

J

and the electric ﬁeld

E in a battery.

Then, a question arises: If the en-

ergy enters the resistor from the air,

how does the energy get out to the

air from a source of energy (bat-

tery)?

To answer this question, consider a bat-

tery which provides energy to the resis-

tor. As illustrated in Figure 32, inside

the battery

J and

E are in opposite di-

rections. The magnetic ﬁeld circulates

around the battery, so we see that the

Poynting vector

N points out into the air,

not along the wire.

108

Thus, the battery sends energy out into the air, not along the wire.

8.7.3 Propagation of an Electromagnetic Wave along a Wire

One of the above examples showed that ﬁeld energy ﬂows into a wire so that

it can be dissipated as heat. Consider now a diﬀerent situation that one

would like to transmit an electromagnetic wave through a resistive wire.

Figure 33: Directions of the electric and

magnetic ﬁelds around a wire transmitting

an EM wave of wavelength λ.

It is well known from experiments,

that an electromagnetic wave can be

transmitted along the wire with very

little loss of its energy. Why does it

happen?

This eﬀect has a simple expla-

nation in terms of the EM the-

ory.

If we consider the case of a perfect

conductor we ﬁnd that there will be a

current wave along the wire with sur-

face charges induced producing a ra-

dial electric ﬁeld. Then

E

B is parallel to the wire and the ﬁeld descrip-

tion of energy transmission is that it is transmitted in the space around the

wire. In the space around the wire

E and

B are in phase and

N is always in

the same direction. Within a perfect conductor we will show later in Chap-

ter 12.6 that

E and

B are π/2 out of phase so the mean N averaged over a

cycle is zero. Thus, there is no net energy transmission within the perfectly

conducting wire.

Exercise in class: Energizing of a capacitor

Consider the energizing of a plane parallel capacitor with

circular plates. Show that circuit and ﬁeld calculations

agree as to the rate of energizing of the capacitor, i.e.

P

c

= P

f

where:

109

P

c

= V I = rate of doing work (by current I and voltage V

between the plates) in charging the capacitor according to

circuit theory.

P

f

=

S

ε

0

c

2

E

B d

**S = rate of energy ﬂow into the surface
**

of the capacitor according to ﬁeld theory.

From which direction does the energy ﬂow in to the ca-

pacitor according to ﬁeld theory?

We will keep the calculation simple assuming the plates

of the capacitor to be uniformly charged. Under what con-

ditions is this assumption likely to be true?

Exercise in class: No Fluxes from Static Fields

Consider a source of electrostatic ﬁeld

E and magnetostatic

ﬁeld

B. If it is arranged so that

E ⊥

B, one may ask:

Should we expect to see an energy ﬂux of ε

0

c

2

E

B?

110

Revision questions

Question 1. Derive formula for the electrostatic ﬁeld energy density.

Question 2. Derive formula for the magnetostatic ﬁeld energy density.

Question 3. State the deﬁnition of the Poynting vector.

Question 4. In a circle containing a resistor, what is the direction of the energy

ﬂow according to the circuit theory and the ﬁeld theory?

Tutorial problems

Problem 8.1 Poynting vector on the surface of a long wire

Find the direction and the magnitude of the Poynting vector on

the surface of an inﬁnitely long, straight conducting wire of ra-

dius r and conductivity σ, carrying a current I.

Problem 8.2 Energy ﬂow in a plane wave

A plane electromagnetic wave propagates in the z direction in

a vacuum. Its electric ﬁeld is polarized in the x direction and so

has the form:

E = E

0

sin(ωt −kz)

ˆ

i

(a) Find an expression for the vector energy ﬂux in this wave.

(b) On the same time scale plot the electric ﬁeld strength and

energy ﬂux magnitude versus time at position z = 0 for 2 cycles

of the wave.

(c) What is the mean energy ﬂux averaged over cycles?

111

9 Solution of Laplace’s Equation and Bound-

ary Value Problem

In one of the previous lectures, we discussed an advantage of using the scalar

and vector potentials in the calculation of the electric and magnetic ﬁelds. In

this lecture, we will illustrate applications of the scalar potential to physical

problems involving bounded ﬁelds.

There is a class of problems in electromagnetism in which a ﬁeld can be

derived without involvement of the complete set of the Maxwell’s equations.

This can be done with the help of the gradient of a scalar potential which

satisﬁes Laplace’s equation

∇

2

Φ = 0 .

Proof:

The condition for this to happen is that a vector ﬁeld

F has vanishing diver-

gence and curl

∇

F = 0 and ∇

F = 0 . (28)

Since, ∇

**F = 0, we can always write
**

F as

F = ∇Φ, where Φ is an arbitrary

scalar function. Then, ∇

F = 0 means that

∇ (∇Φ) = ∇

2

Φ = 0 .

Thus, the scalar potential Φ contains all the necessary information to com-

pletely specify the ﬁeld of the properties (28).

Example 1: Electrostatic problems involving Laplace’s equation

Since in general ∇

E = ρ/ε

0

and ∇

E = −

∂

∂t

**B we see that the requirement
**

for Laplace’s equation to be relevant is that ρ = 0 and ∂/∂t = 0, i.e. a source-

free region and static conditions. Of course there must be a source of charges

somewhere or there would be no ﬁeld anywhere. The typical situation where

solution of Laplace’s equation is relevant in electrostatic is where we have

source-free non-conducting regions between statically charged conductors.

112

Example 2: Magnetostatic problems involving Laplace’s equation

Since in general ∇

B = 0 and ∇

B = µ

0

J +

1

c

2

∂

∂t

**E, we see that the require-
**

ment for Laplace’s equation to be relevant is that

J = 0 and ∂/∂t = 0, i.e.

a current free region and static conditions. Again, there must be currents

somewhere or there would be no ﬁelds anywhere. The typical situation is

to be calculating the magnetic ﬁeld in the non-conducting region between

constant currents.

9.1 Uniqueness of the Solution of Laplace’s Equation

As we shall see below, general solutions of Laplace’s equation are in terms of

some constants which are usually found from boundary (initial) conditions

for a given problem. A question arises:

What boundary conditions are appropriate for the Laplace equa-

tion to ensure that a unique and well-behaved (physically reason-

able) solution will exist inside the bounded region?

Our experience leads to believe that speciﬁcation of the potential on a closed

surface deﬁnes a unique potential problem. This is called Dirichlet theorem

or Dirichlet boundary conditions.

9.1.1 Dirichlet Theorem

Consider a volume V completely bounded by a closed surface S. Within S

there is a potential Φ satisfying ∇

2

Φ = 0. The Dirichlet theorem says that

the value of Φ inside the volume is uniquely determined if the value of the

potential is speciﬁed everywhere on the whole boundary.

Proof:

Suppose, to the contrary, that there exist two solutions Φ

1

and Φ

2

satisfying

the same boundary condition, i.e. ∇

2

Φ

1

= 0 and ∇

2

Φ

2

= 0 within S, but

Φ

1

= Φ

2

on S.

113

Let U = Φ

1

− Φ

2

is the diﬀerence between the solutions. Since Φ

1

and Φ

2

are known to be solutions of the Laplace equation, then from the linearity

of the ∇

2

operator ∇

2

U = 0, i.e. U is also a solution of the Laplace equation.

We will prove that U = 0 inside the volume. To show this, we introduce a

vector

F = U∇U. Then using the vector property that

∇

F = ∇ U∇U = U∇ (∇U) +∇U ∇U ,

and the Gauss’ Divergence Theorem, we get

V

∇

FdV =

V

U∇ ∇UdV +

V

∇U ∇UdV

=

V

U∇

2

UdV +

V

(∇U)

2

dV

=

S

U∇U d

S .

Now, the right-hand side of the above equation is equal to zero because U = 0

over S. Also, the integral

V

U∇

2

UdV = 0 ,

because Φ

1

and Φ

2

both satisfy the Laplace equation throughout V . Hence

V

(∇U)

2

dV = 0 .

Since the integral of a positive function is always positive, ∇U must be zero

for the integral to be zero. Thus ∇U = 0 and consequently, inside the vol-

ume V , the function U is constant. Since U = 0 on S, so that inside V , we

have then that Φ

1

= Φ

2

everywhere, as required.

9.2 Solutions of Laplace’s Equation

There are diﬀerent methods of solving the Laplace equation

• Method of Images

114

• Green functions method

• Variational method

• Method of lattices

• Numerical Monte-Carlo simulations method

• Method of separation of variables

• Solution in spherical coordinates

We will illustrate last two methods which can be applied to a large class of

problems in electromagnetism. The other methods can be applied to spe-

ciﬁc problems. For these methods it is necessary that the boundaries over

which the potential is speciﬁed coincide with the constant bounding surfaces.

9.2.1 Method of Separation of Variables

In cartesian coordinates the Laplace equation for the scalar potential can be

written as

∇

2

Φ =

∂

2

Φ

∂x

2

+

∂

2

Φ

∂y

2

+

∂

2

Φ

∂z

2

= 0 . (29)

Since x, y, z are independent variables, the solution of the Laplace equation

is of the form

Φ(x, y, z) = X(x)Y (y)Z(z) .

Substituting this into the Laplace equation and dividing both sides by XY Z,

we obtain

1

X

d

2

X

dx

2

+

1

Y

d

2

Y

dy

2

+

1

Z

d

2

Z

dz

2

= 0 .

This equation can be separated into three independent equations. To show

this, we write this equation as

1

X

d

2

X

dx

2

= −

1

Y

d

2

Y

dy

2

−

1

Z

d

2

Z

dz

2

.

115

Both sides of the above equation depend on diﬀerent (independent) variables,

thus are equal to a constant, say −α

2

:

1

X

d

2

X

dx

2

= −α

2

,

−

1

Y

d

2

Y

dy

2

−

1

Z

d

2

Z

dz

2

= −α

2

.

The second equation can be written as

1

Y

d

2

Y

dy

2

= α

2

−

1

Z

d

2

Z

dz

2

.

Again, both sides depend on diﬀerent variables, thus are equal to a constant,

say −β

2

:

1

Y

d

2

Y

dy

2

= −β

2

,

α

2

−

1

Z

d

2

Z

dz

2

= −β

2

.

Hence, after the separation of the variables, we get three independent ordi-

nary diﬀerential equations

1

X

d

2

X

dx

2

+ α

2

= 0 ,

1

Y

d

2

Y

dy

2

+ β

2

= 0 ,

1

Z

d

2

Z

dz

2

−(α

2

+ β

2

) = 0 .

The solutions of these equations depend on whether α

2

and β

2

are positive

or negative constants. If we choose α

2

and β

2

to be positive, the solutions

of the diﬀerential equations for X and Y are in the form of trigonometric

functions whereas the solution for Z is in the form of a hyperbolic function

X(x) =

¸

k

A

k

e

iαx

+ B

k

e

−iαx

,

Y (y) =

¸

l

C

l

e

iβy

+ D

l

e

−iβy

,

Z(z) =

¸

p

E

p

e

√

α

2

+β

2

z

+ F

p

e

−

√

α

2

+β

2

z

.

116

If α

2

and β

2

had been chosen as negative constants, the hyperbolic and

trigonometric solutions would be interchanged.

The solutions can be equally well written in the form

X(x) =

¸

k

[A

k

sin(αx) + B

k

cos(αx)] ,

Y (y) =

¸

l

[C

l

sin(βy) + D

l

cos(βy)] ,

Z(z) =

¸

p

¸

E

p

sinh

α

2

+ β

2

z

+ F

p

cosh

α

2

+ β

2

z

.

The above solutions of the Laplace’s equation are in a general form valid for

an arbitrary problem. The constants α, β, A

k

, B

k

, C

l

, D

l

, E

p

and F

p

are found

from speciﬁc boundary conditions.

Consider two examples of an application of the general solutions:

1. We have a solution with known boundary conditions, ﬁnd the problem.

2. We have a problem with speciﬁc boundary conditions, ﬁnd the solution.

Example 1.

Consider the following two-dimensional solution of the Laplace’s equation

Φ(x, z) = X(x)Z(z) = V

0

sin(αx) sinh(αz) (30)

with the lower boundary Φ

min

= 0 and the upper boundary Φ

max

= V

0

.

In what circumstance is the above the solution?

Consider Φ(x, z) in some limits. Note that X = 0 for x = 0 or αx = π, i.e.

x = π/α.

The solution thus satisﬁes the boundary conditions along the ”vertical” lines

for α = π/b.

Since sinh(αz) = 0 for z = 0, the boundary condition along the lower bound-

ary is satisﬁed.

117

Figure 34:

For the solution to satisfy the upper

boundary condition, the shape of the up-

per boundary must be such that

V

0

sin(αx) sinh(αz) = V

0

,

for all points x, z on the line, i.e.

sin

πx

b

sinh

πz

b

= 1 .

Since sin

πx

b

→ 0 at the edges, it is

greatest (= 1) at the center x = b/2.

Hence, sinh

πz

b

**must be equal to one at x = b/2. This happens when
**

πz

b

= arc sinh(1) ≈ 0.885 ,

from which we ﬁnd

z =

0.885b

π

= 0.282b .

Figure 34 shows the shape of the box inside which the potential is of the

form (30).

Example 2.

We usually have reverse problems to the above that we have a set of elec-

trodes which constitute equipotential lines or surfaces, and need to ﬁnd the

appropriate solution of the Laplace equation. In this example we will illus-

trate this situation and we will try to ﬁnd potential inside a rectangular box

whose three sides have potential equal to zero, and the remaining side has a

potential V

0

.

Consider a two-dimensional problem with boundary conditions shown in Fig-

ure 35. This two-dimensional problem has a general solution

Φ(x, z) =

¸

n

[A

n

sin(αx) + B

n

cos(αx)]

[E

n

sinh(αz) + F

n

cosh(αz)] .

118

Figure 35:

The boundary condition of Φ = 0

at the side x = 0 can be sat-

isﬁed by B

n

= 0. The bound-

ary condition of Φ = 0 at the

side z = 0 can be satisﬁed by F

n

=

0. In order to have Φ = 0

at x = b, we must have αb =

nπ.

Hence with the boundary conditions

along three sides of Φ = 0, the general

solution reduces to

Φ(x, z) =

∞

¸

n=1

K

n

sin

nπx

b

sinh

nπz

b

, (31)

where K

n

= A

n

E

n

.

To ﬁnd K

n

we apply the remaining boundary condition that Φ = V

0

at z = a:

Φ(x, a) = V

0

=

∞

¸

n=1

K

n

sin

nπx

b

sinh

nπa

b

. (32)

This is a Fourier series in x and in the usual way we use the orthogonality

properties of sine functions to calculate K

n

:

2π

0

sin(mφ) sin(nφ) dφ =

0 for m = n

π for m = n

2π

0

cos(mφ) cos(nφ) dφ =

0 for m = n

π for m = n

2π

0

sin(mφ) cos(nφ) dφ = 0 for all m and n .

Thus, multiplying both sides of Eq. (32) by sin(mπx/b) and integrating over

x = 0 →b, we get

b

0

V

0

sin

mπx

b

dx =

∞

¸

n=1

K

n

sinh

nπa

b

b

0

sin

mπx

b

sin

nπx

b

dx .

119

From the orthogonality of the sine functions, we ﬁnd that all integrals on the

right-hand side are equal to zero except for m = n. Thus, after performing

the integration on the left-hand side, we are left with the term

V

0

¸

−cos

nπx

b

b

0

b

nπ

= K

n

sinh

nπa

b

b

0

sin

2

nπx

b

dx ,

which we can write as

V

0

b

nπ

[1 −cos(nπ)] = K

n

sinh

nπa

b

b

0

1

2

¸

1 −cos

2nπx

b

dx .

The cos (2nπx/b) integrates to zero over the range 0 →b, so that the above

equation becomes

V

0

b

nπ

[1 −cos(nπ)] = K

n

sinh

nπa

b

b

2

,

from which we ﬁnd the constant K

n

:

K

n

=

2V

0

nπ

1 −cos(nπ)

sinh

nπa

b

.

The solution for K

n

can be further simpliﬁed:

Namely, if n is an even number, cos(nπ) = 1 and then K

n

= 0.

If n is an odd number, cos(nπ) = −1, and then 1 −cos(nπ) = 2. Hence, we

ﬁnally arrive at

K

n

=

4V

0

nπ

1

sinh

nπa

b

, for odd n

and K

n

= 0 for even n.

Substituting K

n

into Eq. (31), we ﬁnd that the potential inside the box has

the form

Φ(x, z) =

¸

odd n

4V

0

nπ

sinh

nπz

b

sinh

nπa

b

sin

nπx

b

.

120

As an exercise, check the correctness of this solution by showing that it

satisﬁes the Laplace’s equation.

Exercise in class: Reduction of the solution of a three dimesional problem

to a two dimensional problem

Why for a two dimensional problem we simplify the general

three-dimensional solution of the Laplace equations into

Φ = X(x)Z(z) ,

or

Φ = Y (y)Z(z) ,

but never

Φ = X(x)Y (y) .

121

9.2.2 Solution of the Laplace Equation in Spherical Coordinates

In this lecture, we continue the discussion of boundary-value problems and

will illustrate solution of the Laplace equation for general problems of spher-

ical symmetry. In this case, we shall work in spherical coordinates (r, θ, φ),

in which the Laplace equation takes the form

∇

2

Φ =

1

r

2

∂

∂r

r

2

∂Φ

∂r

+

1

r

2

sin θ

∂

∂θ

sin θ

∂Φ

∂θ

+

1

r

2

sin

2

θ

∂

2

Φ

∂φ

2

= 0 .

The procedure we follow in the solution of the above equation is as follows:

Multiplying both sides by r

2

, the Laplace equation can be written as a sum

of two separate parts

∂

∂r

r

2

∂Φ

∂r

+

1

sin θ

∂

∂θ

sin θ

∂Φ

∂θ

+

1

sin

2

θ

∂

2

Φ

∂φ

2

= 0 .

The ﬁrst part depends solely on r, whereas the second part depends solely on

the angles θ, φ. Thus, the solution of this equation is of the separable form

Φ = R(r)Y (θ, φ) .

Hence, substituting Φ = R(r)Y (θ, φ) and dividing both sides by R(r)Y (θ, φ),

we obtain

1

R

d

dr

r

2

dR

dr

= −

1

Y

¸

1

sin θ

∂

∂θ

sin θ

∂Y

∂θ

+

1

sin

2

θ

∂

2

Y

∂φ

2

¸

.

Note, both sides of the above equation depend on diﬀerent variables. It

follows that the both sides must be equal to the same constant, say −α:

d

dr

r

2

dR

dr

+ αR = 0 ,

1

sin θ

∂

∂θ

sin θ

∂Y

∂θ

+

1

sin

2

θ

∂

2

Y

∂φ

2

−αY = 0 .

Thus, the Laplace equation splits into two independent diﬀerential equations.

We will call them the radial part and angular part, respectively.

122

Angular part: Equation for Y .

Multiplying both sides by sin

2

θ, we get

sin θ

∂

∂θ

sin θ

∂Y

∂θ

−αsin

2

θY +

∂

2

Y

∂φ

2

= 0 .

This equation contains two separate parts, one dependent only on θ and the

other dependent only on φ. Therefore, the solution will be of the form

Y (θ, φ) = X(θ)Ψ(φ) .

Hence, we get

1

X

sin θ

d

dθ

sin θ

dX

dθ

−αsin

2

θ = −

1

Ψ

d

2

Ψ

dφ

2

.

As before, both sides must be equal to a constant, say m

2

:

1

X

sin θ

d

dθ

sin θ

dX

dθ

−αsin

2

θ = m

2

,

1

Ψ

d

2

Ψ

dφ

2

= −m

2

.

First, we will solve the equation for Ψ, which we can write as

d

2

Ψ

dφ

2

= −m

2

Ψ .

It is the familiar diﬀerential equation for a harmonic motion. The solution

of this equation is of simple exponent form:

Ψ(φ) = Aexp(imφ) ,

where A is a constant.

To determine the constant m note that in rotation, φ and φ+2π correspond

to the same position in space: Ψ(φ) = Ψ(φ + 2π), which is satisﬁed when

exp(imφ) = exp[im(φ + 2π)] .

123

This leads to

exp(i2πm) = 1 ,

that is satisﬁed when m = 0, ±1, ±2, . . ..

Hence, the constant m

2

is not an arbitrary number, is an integer.

Now, we will ﬁnd X(θ) to complete the solution for Y .

Using the solution for Ψ, the diﬀerential equation for X(θ) can be written as

1

sin θ

d

dθ

sin θ

dX

dθ

−

α +

m

2

sin

2

θ

X = 0 .

Introducing a new variable z = cos θ, we can rewrite this equation as

1 −z

2

d

2

X

dz

2

−2z

dX

dz

−

α +

m

2

1 −z

2

X = 0 ,

or

d

dz

¸

1 −z

2

dX

dz

¸

−

α +

m

2

1 −z

2

X = 0 . (33)

The above equation is known as the generalized Legendry diﬀerential equa-

tion, and its solutions are the associated Legendry polynomials. For m = 0,

the equation is called the ordinary Legendry diﬀerential equation whose so-

lution is given by the Legendry polynomials.

Lets look into the solution procedure of the above equation. This will allow

us to ﬁnd α and X(θ).

We assume that the whole range of z (cos θ), including the north and south

poles (z = ±1), is in the region of interest. The desired solution should be

single valued, ﬁnite, and continuous on the interval −1 ≤ z ≤ 1 in order to

represent a physical potential.

124

The diﬀerential equation for X has poles at z = ±1. In order to ﬁnd the

solution of this equation, we ﬁrst check what solution could be continuous

near the poles.

Lets check a possible solution near z = 1. Substituting x = 1 − z, then

dx = −dz and in terms of x the equation takes a form

d

dx

¸

x (2 −x)

dX

dx

¸

−

α +

m

2

x(2 −x)

X = 0 .

We look for a solution in the trial form of power series in x

X(x) = x

s

∞

¸

n=0

a

n

x

n

.

Substituting this into the diﬀerential equation for X, we get

2s

2

a

0

x

s−1

+ (s + 1)(2sa

1

−sa

0

+ 2a

1

)x

s

+ . . .

−

α +

m

2

x(2 −x)

(a

0

+ a

1

x + . . .)x

s

= 0 .

Near x ≈ 0, we can replace x(2 −x) by 2x, and obtain

2s

2

a

0

−

m

2

2

a

0

x

s−1

+ (. . .)x

s

. . . = 0 .

This equation is satisﬁed for all x only if the coeﬃcients at x

s

, x

s±1

, . . . are

zero. From this, we ﬁnd that

s = ±

1

2

[m[ .

We take only s = +

1

2

[m[ as for s = −

1

2

[m[ the solution for X(x) at x = 0

would go to inﬁnity. We require the solution to be ﬁnite at any point x.

Thus, the solution that is continuous near x = 0 is of the form

X(x) = x

1

2

|m|

∞

¸

n=0

a

n

x

n

,

125

or in terms of z

X(z) = (1 −z)

1

2

|m|

∞

¸

n=0

a

n

z

n

.

Using the same procedure, we can show that near the pole z = −1, the

continuous solution is

X(z) = (1 + z)

1

2

|m|

∞

¸

n=0

a

n

z

n

.

Hence, we will try to ﬁnd the solution in the form

X(z) =

1 −z

2

1

2

|m|

∞

¸

n=0

b

n

z

n

. (34)

What left is to determine the coeﬃciets b

n

.

Substituting Eq. (34) into the diﬀerential equation for X(z), Eq. (33), and

collecting all terms at the same powers of z

n

, we obtain

¸

n

¦(n + 1)(n + 2)b

n+2

−n(n −1)b

n

− 2([m[ + 1)nb

n

−(α +[m[ + m

2

)b

n

¸

z

n

= 0 ,

from which we ﬁnd a recurrence relation for the coeﬃcients b

n

b

n+2

=

(n +[m[)(n +[m[ + 1) + α

(n + 1)(n + 2)

b

n

.

We have two separate solutions for even and odd n. For b

0

= 0, we put

b

1

= 0, and the solution is given in terms of even n. For b

0

= 0, we put

b

1

= 0, and the solution is given in terms of odd n.

We cannot accept both the even and odd solutions at the same time, because

in this case the solution X(z) would not be a single valued function that is

would not be accepted as a physical potential.

For example, for b

0

= 0, we have α = −[m[ − m

2

, but for b

1

= 0, we have

α = −2 − 3[m[ − m

2

. If we would accept both of the solutions at the same

time, the potential would have two diﬀerent values.

126

We check now whether the series is converting when n → ∞ which would

ensure that the potential is ﬁnite.

Since b

n+2

> b

n

, the series diverges for z = ±1. Therefore, in order to get

the potential ﬁnite everywhere in the space, we have to terminate the series

at some n = n

0

. In other words, we assume that b

n

0

+1

= b

n

0

+2

= . . . = 0.

The series terminating at n = n

0

indicates that

(n

0

+[m[)(n

0

+[m[ + 1) + α = 0 .

Introducing

l = n

0

+[m[ ,

we see that l ≥ [m[, and

α = −l(l + 1) , l = 0, 1, 2, . . .

Thus, the solution for X(z) is

X

lm

(z) =

1 −z

2

1

2

|m|

l−|m|

¸

n

b

n

z

n

,

where the sum is over even n when l −[m[ is an even number, and over odd n

when l −[m[ is an odd number.

First few solutions

X

00

(z) = b

0

= b

0

P

0

0

(z) ,

X

10

(z) = b

1

z = b

1

P

0

1

(z) ,

X

11

(z) = b

0

√

1 −z

2

= b

0

P

1

1

(z) ,

where P

0

0

(z) = 1, P

0

1

(z) = z, P

1

1

(z) =

√

1 −z

2

, . . . are the associate Legendry

polynomials of the order l.

Useful examples of the associate Legendry polynomials, written in terms

of θ, (z = cos θ):

P

0

0

(cos θ) = 1 ,

127

P

0

1

(cos θ) = cos θ ,

P

1

1

(cos θ) = sin θ ,

P

0

2

(cos θ) =

1

4

[3 cos(2θ) + 1] ,

P

1

2

(cos θ) =

3

2

sin(2θ) ,

P

2

2

(cos θ) =

3

2

[1 −cos(2θ)] .

An important property of the Legendry polynomials is orthogonality that

1

−1

P

m

l

(cos θ)P

n

k

(cos θ) d(cos θ) = 0 for m = n and l = k ,

1

−1

[P

m

l

(cos θ)]

2

d(cos θ) =

2

2l + 1

(l + m)!

(l −m)!

for m = n and l = k .

Finally, with the above notation, the solution for the angular part of the

Laplace equation Y (θ, φ) is of the form

Y (θ, φ) =

¸

l

¸

m

A

lm

P

m

l

(cos θ)e

imφ

.

Radial part: Equation for R(r).

With α = −l(l + 1), the diﬀerential equation for R takes the form

d

dr

r

2

dR

dr

−l(l + 1)R = 0 .

Dividing by r and introducing a new function U(r) = rR(r), we obtain

d

2

U

dr

2

−

l(l + 1)

r

2

U = 0 .

Lets ﬁrst check the asymptotic solution for r 1. In this case we can ignore

the second term in the diﬀerential equation, and ﬁnd that the asymptotic

equation has a solution U(r 1) = Cr, where C is a constant.

Following this asymptotic behavior, we will try the general solution of a form

U(r) = r

s

.

128

Substituting this into the diﬀerential equation, we obtain

[s(s −1) −l(l + 1)] r

s−2

= 0 .

This equation is satisﬁed for any r when

s = (l + 1) or s = −l .

Thus, the general solution for U that satisﬁes the asymptotic solution is of

the form

U(r) = C

1

r

l+1

+ C

2

r

−l

,

and then

R(r) = C

1

r

l

+ C

2

r

−(l+1)

.

Hence, the general solution of the Laplace equation in spherical polar coor-

dinates is of the form:

Φ(r, θ, φ) =

¸

l

¸

m

C

1l

r

l

+ C

2l

r

−(l+1)

A

lm

P

m

l

(cos θ)e

imφ

.

The solution can be written as

Φ(r, θ, φ) =

¸

l

¸

m

C

1l

r

l

+ C

2l

r

−(l+1)

[a

lm

cos(mφ) + b

lm

sin(mφ)] P

m

l

(cos θ)¦ .

This is the ﬁnal solution for the potential of an arbitrary spherically sym-

metric problem. The potential is ﬁnite, determined and is continuous at each

point (r, θ, φ).

Example 1: Potential outside a conducting sphere

Consider an example of boundary-value problem with azimuthal symmetry:

A conducting sphere of a radius a in an uniform electric ﬁeld, as shown

in Figure 36.

129

In order to ﬁnd the potential, we ﬁrst have to determine boundary conditions

for the potential.

There are two boundaries: One of the boundaries is the surface of the sphere

and the other is the region at r →∞.

The conducting sphere is an equipotential volume (else there would be electric

ﬁelds driving currents till it became so). We take, with no loss of generality,

the zero potential on the sphere.

Figure 36: A dielectric sphere in a

uniform electric ﬁeld.

Thus, the boundary conditions to be sat-

isﬁed are:

1. The potential on the surface of the

sphere Φ(a, θ, φ) = 0.

2. The potential at inﬁnity is the uni-

form ﬁeld potential (no eﬀect of the

sphere at inﬁnity), so Φ = −

E r =

−Er cos θ at inﬁnity.

Since the applied potential is indepen-

dent of the angle φ, the induced poten-

tial will also be independent of φ. This

is a general property of the potential in-

side a bounded area that we shall ex-

plain in details at one of the tutorial se-

sions.

Thus, using this property, we can set m = 0 in the general solution and get

Φ(r, θ) =

¸

l

C

1l

r

l

+ C

2l

r

−(l+1)

P

0

l

(cos θ) .

At inﬁnity (r → ∞), the boundary condition is satisﬁed for all constants

C

1l

= 0 except for l = 1 (remember P

1

= cos θ). Thus

Φ(r, θ) = C

11

rP

1

(cos θ) +

¸

l

C

2l

P

l

(cos θ)

r

l+1

.

130

We ﬁrst ﬁnd the explicit form of C

11

. As r → ∞, the potential Φ(r, θ) →

C

11

r cos θ = −Er cos θ. Therefore C

11

= −E.

The remaining coeﬃcients C

2l

we ﬁnd from the other boundary condition

that Φ(a, θ) = 0 on the surface of the sphere. Thus, at r = a

Φ(a, θ) = 0 = −EaP

1

(cos θ) +

¸

l

C

2l

P

l

(cos θ)

a

l+1

.

We can determine the coeﬃcients C

2l

using the orthogonality properties of

the Legendry polynomials. Multiplying the above equation by P

k

(cos θ) sin θ

and integrating over sin θdθ = d(cos θ), we obtain

0 = −aE

1

−1

P

1

(cos θ)P

k

(cos θ) d(cos θ)

+

¸

l

C

2l

a

l+1

1

−1

P

l

(cos θ)P

k

(cos θ) d(cos θ) .

For k = 1 the ﬁrst term vanishes by orthogonality of the Legendry polyno-

mials. Moreover, all terms in the summation vanish except that for l = k.

Thus, for k = 1

0 =

C

2k

a

k+1

1

−1

P

k

(cos θ)P

k

(cos θ) d(cos θ) .

Since the integral is nonzero, then C

2k

= 0.

For k = 1 and using the orthogonality property of the Legendry polynomials

1

−1

P

m

l

(cos θ)P

m

l

(cos θ) d(cos θ) =

2

2l + 1

(l + m)!

(l −m)!

,

we ﬁnd that for l = 1 and m = 0, the integral is equal to 2/3. Thus

0 = −aE

2

3

+

C

21

a

2

2

3

,

from which, we ﬁnd C

21

= Ea

3

. Hence

Φ(r, θ) = −Er cos θ + Ea

3

cos θ

r

2

.

131

The ﬁrst term is just the potential of a uniform ﬁeld E. The second term

is the potential due to the induced surface charges or, equivalently, is the

potential of the induced dipole moment p = 4πε

0

Ea

3

Φ

dip

=

p cos θ

4πε

0

r

2

.

This result shows that the sphere placed in an uniform electric ﬁeld behaves

as a dipole because of the eﬀect of the charge distribution induced on its

surface.

Exercise in class: Potential inside a sphere

Let us suppose that the student would try to ﬁnd Φ in-

side a sphere using the general solution for Φ. We have

found before, using the Gauss’s law, that Φ = const. in-

side the sphere.

The student immediately notice that the solutions appear

to be mathematically diﬀerent since that found by using the

Gauss’s law is in a closed form while the general one is in

the form of a series. The question to be settled is whether

the two solutions are identical or whether, perhaps, only

one of the solutions is correct?

132

Revision questions

Question 1. What conditions are imposed on the ﬁeld that is completely deter-

mined by a scalar potential?

Question 2. State the Dirichlet theorem.

Question 3. Explain the method of separation of variables on example of the

Laplace equation in cartesian coordinates.

Question 4. Explain the method of solving the generalized Legendry diﬀerential

equation that satisﬁes the conditions imposed on the scalar poten-

tial.

133

Tutorial problems

Problem 9.1 Electrostatic potential inside a rectangular box with symmetrical

boundary conditions

Find a series solution in rectangular harmonics for the electrostatic

potential inside a 2-dimensional box in which the sides at y = 0

and y = b are at zero potential and the sides at z = a and z = −a

are at potential V

0

.

Problem 9.2 Potential inside a rectangular box

Consider a two-dimensional region with boundaries at x = 0, b

and z = 0, a, as shown in Figure 37. The boundary conditions are

Figure 37:

∂Φ

∂z

= 0 at z = 0 ,

Φ = 0 at x = 0, b ,

Φ = V

0

at z = a .

Find the potential at any point inside the two-dimensional region.

134

Problem 9.3 Potential inside an open rectangular box

Find the potential everywhere inside a two dimensional region

bounded from three sides by a ﬁnite plane at z = 0 and by semi-

inﬁnite planes located at x = 0 and x = b, as shown in Figure 38.

The boundary conditions are

Φ = 0 at x = 0 and x = b ,

Φ = V

0

at z = 0 ,

Φ = 0 at z →∞ .

Figure 38:

Problem 9.4 Potential inside a 3-dimensional box

A 3-dimensional conducting box is deﬁned by x = 0 to a, y =

0 to b and z = 0 to c. All the sides of the box are connected

together and grounded except that side deﬁned by z = c, which

is insulated from the rest and held at potential V

0

. Show that the

potential within the hollow box can be written as the series

Φ(x, y, z) =

¸

n

odd

¸

m

odd

16 V

0

nmπ

2

sin

mπx

a

sin

nπy

b

sinh

¸

mπ

a

2

+

nπ

b

2

c

sinh

¸

mπ

a

2

+

nπ

b

2

¸

z

¸

¸

.

135

Problem 9.5 Potential due to a thin circular ring

(a) Show that for a system with axial symmetry such as a ring

of charge, the electrostatic potential can be written as a series in

spherical polar coordinates:

Φ(r, θ) =

¸

A

r

+B

r

−(+1)

P

(cos θ) .

To determine the coeﬃcients A

and B

**consider the solution along
**

the z-axis, where θ = 0. It is useful to know that P

(1) = 1 for

any value of . Thus, along the axis:

Φ(z) =

¸

A

z

+B

z

−(+1)

.

(b) Calculate Φ(z) directly from the Coulomb potential. Expand

this expression as a power series and hence ﬁnd the A

and B

by

comparison.

Hence, show that for a ring of radius a and charge per unit length λ

the potential everywhere can be written as the series:

Φ(r, θ) =

λ

2ε

0

1 +

¸

even

(−1)

2

1.3.5 . . . ( −1)

2

2

2

! a

¸

¸

r

P

(cos θ)

¸

¸

¸ ,

where = 2, 4, 6, . . . (even).

The Legendre functions can be computed from the recurrence re-

lation:

( + 1) P

+1

(x) = (2 + 1) xP

(x) − P

−1

(x)

and knowing that P

0

(x) = 1 and P

1

(x) = x.

However, the functions become rather tedious for hand calcula-

tions for large , e.g.

P

10

(x) =

1

1024

−252 + 13860x

2

−120120x

4

+ 360360x

6

−437580x

8

+ 184756x

10

¸

.

136

However, there is Matlab etc.

(c) Calculate also the electric ﬁeld components of the circular

ring using the relation

E = −∇Φ.

(There is a useful recurrence relation for the derivative of the Leg-

endre function:

(x

2

−1)

d

dx

P

(x) = xP

(x) − P

−1

(x) .

See e.g. Abramowitz & Stegun ‘Handbook of Mathematical Func-

tions’).

137

10 General Solution of the Maxwell’s Equa-

tions

In Chap. 6, we presented a method of solving the Maxwell’s equations for

the EM ﬁelds propagating in vacuum. We were able to reduce the Maxwell’s

equations into two diﬀerential equations for

E and

B alone. The equations

were in the form of the wave equations whose the solutions are in the form

of plane and transverse waves. In this lecture, we will present a method for

general solution of the Maxwell’s equations in the presence of the sources,

charges and currents that depend on position r and time t. The concept of

vector and scalar potentials and gauges will be useful in the general solution.

10.1 Diﬃculty of the Direct Solution of Maxwell’s Equa-

tions

Consider the Maxwell’s equations for the ﬁelds in the presence of charges and

currents

I. ∇

E = ρ/ε

0

, (35)

II. ∇

B = 0 , (36)

III. ∇

E = −

∂

∂t

B , (37)

IV. ∇

B = µ

0

J +

1

c

2

∂

∂t

E . (38)

In the Maxwell’s equations, the ﬁelds

E and

B depend on (r, t), the charge

and current densities also depend on (r, t). It is not explicitly stated in the

above equations, but we shall remember about this dependence in the fol-

lowing calculations.

Let us try to solve the Maxwell’s equations to ﬁnd the ﬁelds

E and

B pro-

duced by the source charges ρ and currents

J.

The Maxwell’s equations involve two ﬁelds that satisfy coupled diﬀerential

equations. First, we will try to separate the Maxwell’s equations into a dif-

ferential equation for

E alone or

B alone.

138

Assuming in the usual way that space and time operators commute, we act

with

1

c

2

∂

∂t

on III and ∇ on IV, and obtain from III:

1

c

2

∂

∂t

∇

E +

1

c

2

∂

2

∂t

2

B = 0 ,

and from IV:

1

c

2

∂

∂t

∇

E −∇(∇

B) = −µ

0

∇

J .

Eliminating

E by subtraction of the two above equations, we get

∇(∇

B) +

1

c

2

∂

2

∂t

2

B = µ

0

∇

J .

Using the vector identity for double product, and from II:

∇(∇

B) = −∇

2

B +∇(∇

B) = −∇

2

B ,

we arrive to a wave equation

∇

2

B −

1

c

2

∂

2

∂t

2

B = −µ

0

∇

J . (39)

Similarly, elimination of

B gives

∇

2

E −

1

c

2

∂

2

∂t

2

E =

1

ε

0

∇ρ + µ

0

∂

∂t

J . (40)

Equations (39) and (40) are in the form of coupled wave equations known as

inhomogeneous Helmholtz equations. We see that the current density

J en-

ters into both of these equations and enters in a relatively complicated way.

These equations are coupled through

J, and for this reason these equations

and are not readily soluble in general.

In the absence of currents and charges,

J = 0, ρ = 0, and then the above

equations describe a free EM ﬁeld, and can be solved separately, as it was

illustrated in Chap. 6. The general solution of the wave equations, in the

presence of space and time varying currents and charges is complicated and

is more readily attained via the electromagnetic potentials.

139

10.2 Scalar and Vector Potentials

Generally, we do not ﬁnd ﬁelds

E and

B directly by integration of Eqs. (39)

and (40). We rather ﬁrst compute scalar and vector potentials from which

the ﬁelds may be found. We will illustrate here the advantage of working

with the potentials, i.e. with the the scalar and vector potentials.

Introduce the vector potential

A deﬁned such that the Maxwell’s equation II

remains unchanged. The ﬁeld

B always has zero divergence, ∇

B = 0, and

hence we can always write

B = ∇

A , (41)

since ∇ ∇

A is identically zero. Substitute this relation to the Maxwell’s

equation III, we obtain

∇

E = −

∂

∂t

∇

A

= ∇

¸

−

∂

A

∂t

¸

. (42)

The two curl’s are equal, but it does not mean that the vectors under the

curls are equal. Since always ∇ ∇Φ = 0, where Φ is an arbitrary scalar

function, the two vectors are equal with the accuracy to ∇Φ:

E = −

∂

∂t

A −∇Φ . (43)

Scalar potential is a quantity from which a ﬁeld can be derived by a process

of diﬀerentiation, e.g. in electrostatics

E = −∇Φ ,

where Φ is the electrostatic potential.

In the static limit of ∂

A/∂t = 0, the scalar function Φ reduces to the familiar

electrostatic potential.

Equation (43) shows that the electric ﬁeld depends on the speciﬁc choice of

the potentials. We can change

A and Φ and still get the same

E. One can

object that Eq. (41) ensure a ﬁxed value for

A, so Eqs. (41) and (43) are

140

satisﬁed for ﬁxed

A and Φ. However, we can deﬁne new potentials without

changing

E and

B

A

=

A +∇Λ ,

Φ

= Φ −

∂

∂t

Λ . (44)

Proof:

From Eq. (43), we ﬁnd that

E

= −

∂

∂t

A

−∇Φ

= −

∂

∂t

A +∇Λ

−∇

Φ −

∂

∂t

Λ

= −

∂

∂t

A −∇Φ =

E .

Similarly, fro Eq.(41), we ﬁnd that

B

= ∇

A

= ∇

A +∇(∇Λ) = ∇

A =

B .

as required.

The transformation (44) is called a gauge transformation, and the invariance

of the ﬁelds under such transformations is called gauge invariance.

In this case, how do we completely determine

A?

From the Helmholtz theorem we know that the deﬁnition

B = ∇

A does

not completely deﬁne

A despite the fact that

B is completely deﬁned. The

vector potential

A is arbitrary to the extent that the gradient of some scalar

function can be added. Thus, inﬁnite set of possible potentials Φ corresponds

to an inﬁnite set of possible vector potentials.

Recall the Helmholtz Theorem which says that any vector ﬁeld can be

written as a sum two terms

F = −

1

4π

∇

V

∇

F

r

dV +

1

4π

∇

V

∇

F

r

dV

=

F

l

+

F

t

,

141

where

F

l

is called the longitudinal part of the ﬁeld and it has ∇

F

l

= 0,

while

F

t

is called the transverse part as it has ∇

F

t

= 0.

We see that ∇

F and ∇

F together determine

F but neither do alone.

Thus, if we deﬁne ∇

A, we complete the deﬁnition of

A. This is called

”choosing the gauge of the potential”. The above is an excellent illustration

of the power of the Helmholtz theorem. This theorem enables us to recog-

nize basic common properties of vector ﬁelds independent of their individual

physical properties.

10.2.1 Lorenz Gauge

How do we deﬁne ∇

A?

It is done as follows. We take ∇ of Eq. (43) and obtain

∇

E = −

∂

∂t

∇

A −∇

2

Φ . (45)

Thus, the electric ﬁeld

E will satisfy the Maxwell’s equation I when

−

∂

∂t

∇

A −∇

2

Φ = ρ/ε

0

. (46)

From the Maxwell’s equation IV and

B = ∇

A, we have

∇(∇

A) = µ

0

J +

1

c

2

∂

∂t

−

∂

∂t

A −∇Φ

,

which can be written as

−∇

2

A +∇(∇

A) = µ

0

J −

1

c

2

∂

2

∂t

2

A −

1

c

2

∇

∂

∂t

Φ ,

or

∇

2

A −

1

c

2

∂

2

∂t

2

A = −µ

0

J +∇

∇

A +

1

c

2

∂

∂t

Φ

. (47)

The freedom of choosing

A and Φ means that we can choose a set of potentials

to satisfy the condition

∇

A +

1

c

2

∂

∂t

Φ = 0 .

142

This is called the Lorenz gauge and deﬁnes ∇

**A. This equation is sometimes
**

called the Lorenz equation.

Under the Lorenz gauge, Eq. (47) reduces to

∇

2

A −

1

c

2

∂

2

∂t

2

A = −µ

0

J ,

and applying the Lorenz gauge to Eq. (46), we get

∇

2

Φ −

1

c

2

∂

2

Φ

∂t

2

= −ρ/ε

0

.

We see the advantage of using the vector and scalar potentials. In terms

of the potentials, the the Maxwell equations reduce to two uncoupled wave

equations that can be solved separately. The equations also show that the

Lorenz gauge is consistent with our experience on the sources of the EM

ﬁelds. The source of the vector potential that is related to the magnetic ﬁeld

is a current density, and the source of the scalar potential that is related to

charges is a charge density.

10.2.2 Coulomb Gauge

Another useful gauge of the potentials is the Coulomb gauge or transverse

gauge

∇

A = 0 .

The origin of the name ”Coulomb gauge” is in equation (45) that under the

condition ∇

A = 0 reduces to the Poisson equation

∇

2

Φ = −ρ/ε

0

,

that determines the Coulomb potential due to the charge density ρ.

Where the name transverse gauge came from?

Before we give the answer to this question, we ﬁrst show that the solution of

the Poisson equation is of the form

Φ(r) =

1

4πε

0

ρ

r

dV .

143

It can be proved in the following way.

From the Coulomb’s law

E =

1

4πε

0

ρˆ r

r

2

dV .

and using the relation

−∇

1

r

=

ˆ r

r

2

,

we can write the electric ﬁeld as

E = −

1

4πε

0

∇

ρ

r

dV = −∇Φ ,

where

Φ =

1

4πε

0

ρ

r

dV . (48)

Since the electric ﬁeld satisﬁes the Maxwell’s equation I, we ﬁnd

∇

E = −∇

2

Φ =

ρ

ε

0

,

as required.

Now, we can ﬁnd the wave equation for

A under the Coulomb gauge

∇

2

A −

1

c

2

∂

2

∂t

2

A = −µ

0

J +

1

c

2

∇

∂Φ

∂t

. (49)

In this equation, the term involving the scalar potential is called ”longitudi-

nal” as it has vanishing ∇. This suggests that it may cancel the longitudinal

part of the current density

J.

Let us check if the longitudinal part of the current density can be expressed

in terms of the scalar potential. According to the Helmholtz Theorem, the

current density can be written as

J = −

1

4π

∇

V

∇

J

r

dV +

1

4π

∇

V

∇

J

r

dV

=

J

l

+

J

t

.

144

Using the continuity equation

∂ρ

∂t

+∇

J = 0

and the solution of the Poisson equation, we ﬁnd the longitudinal part of the

current density

J

l

= −

1

4π

∇

V

∇

J

r

dV = −

1

4π

∇

V

−

∂ρ

∂t

r

dV

=

1

4π

∂

∂t

∇

V

ρ

r

dV = ε

0

∂

∂t

∇Φ .

Then

µ

0

J

l

= µ

0

ε

0

∂

∂t

∇Φ =

1

c

2

∇

∂Φ

∂t

,

which is equal to the second term on the right hand side of Eq. (49).

Hence, the inhomogeneous term in the wave equation (49) can be expressed

entirely in terms of the transverse current and then the wave equation for

A

reduces to

∇

2

A −

1

c

2

∂

2

∂t

2

A = −µ

0

J

t

.

This explains the origin of the name ”transverse gauge”.

15

10.3 Solution of the Inhomogeneous Wave Equations

We have shown that the Maxwell equations can be reduced to two indepen-

dent wave equations for the potentials

A and Φ. In fact, we have four scalar

equations for (A

x

, A

y

, A

z

, Φ). Each of these equations has the same form.

Therefore, it is enough to solve one of the four equations.

15

The transverse gauge is often used in atomic physics to calculate the EM ﬁelds pro-

duced by orbiting electrons. In this case, the orbiting electrons produce a current that is

solenoidal.

145

We will illustrate the solution on the equation for Φ:

∇

2

Φ −

1

c

2

∂

2

Φ

∂t

2

= −ρ/ε

0

. (50)

A general solution of the above equation may be found by considering two

limiting cases:

(a) Electrostatic limit: ∂/∂t ≡ 0

In this limit the wave equation for Φ reduces to the Poisson equation whose

the solution is

Φ(r) =

1

4πε

0

ρ(r

)

r

dV

.

(b) Source free limit: ρ = 0

In this case, the wave equation (50) reduces to the homogeneous equation

∇

2

Φ −

1

c

2

∂

2

Φ

∂t

2

= 0 .

This equation has a spherically symmetric solution of the form

Φ(r, t) =

f(t −r/c)

r

,

where f(t − r/c) is an arbitrary function of the retarded time t − r/c. The

retardation r/c is equal to the time needed for the electromagnetic wave to

pass the distance from the source to a given point in space.

Proof:

If there are no charged (boundary) surfaces in the space, the potential can

depend only on r, and must in fact be spherically symmetric. Thus, in

spherical coordinates only the radial part of the Laplacian will contribute to

the wave equation

∇

2

Φ =

1

r

2

∂

∂r

¸

r

2

∂Φ

∂r

¸

.

146

Since

∂f

∂r

=

∂f

∂t

r

∂t

r

∂r

= −

1

c

f

,

where t

r

= t −r/c and f

= ∂f/∂t

r

, we have

∇

2

Φ = −

1

r

2

∂

∂r

¸

r

2

f

cr

+

f

r

2

¸

= −

1

r

2

∂

∂r

rf

c

+ f

= −

1

r

2

¸

f

c

+

r

c

−

1

c

f

+

−

1

c

f

¸

=

1

rc

2

f

,

where f

= ∂

2

f/∂t

2

r

.

Moreover, ∂/∂t = ∂/∂t

r

, and then

1

c

2

∂

2

Φ

∂t

2

=

1

c

2

r

f

.

Consequently, we obtain

∇

2

Φ =

1

c

2

∂

2

Φ

∂t

2

=

1

c

2

r

f

−

1

c

2

r

f

= 0 ,

as required.

Summarizing the above analysis, we can construct a general solution of the

wave equation by noting that it must represent a spherical wave outside the

source and reduce to the appropriate static limit. This solution is

Φ(r, t) =

1

4πε

0

V

ρ(t −r/c)

r

dV ,

where r is the distance coordinate from the source (from the charge ρdV ) at

the time when the potential wave left it. This exhibits the causal behavior

associated with the wave disturbance. The argument of ρ shows that an

eﬀect observed at the point r at time t is caused by the action of the source

a distant r away at an earlier or retarded time t

r

= t −r/c. The time r/c is

the time of propagation of the disturbance from the source to the point r.

Thus, the Maxwell’s equations satisfy the causality principle.

147

10.4 Rigorous Solution: Green Functions Method

The wave equations all have the basic structure

∇

2

Φ(r, t) −

1

c

2

∂

2

Φ(r, t)

∂t

2

= −4πf(r, t) ,

where f(r, t) is a known (source distribution) function.

To solve this equation, we will introduce the Green function of the equation

and solve it as an inhomogeneous Helmholtz equation.

Suppose that Φ(r, t) and f(r, t) have the Fourier integrals

Φ(r, ω) =

∞

−∞

Φ(r, t)e

iωt

dt ,

f(r, ω) =

∞

−∞

f(r, t)e

iωt

dt .

When we insert it into the wave equation, we ﬁnd that the Fourier transform

Φ(r, ω) satisﬁes the inhomogeneous Helmholtz wave equation

∇

2

+ k

2

Φ(r, ω) = −4πf(r, ω) ,

where k = ω/c is the wave number.

The advantage of working in Fourier components is to remove the derivative

over time, and consequently to reduce the wave equation to a diﬀerential

equation involving the space variables only.

Green function

For a unit point source the potential satisﬁes the Poisson equation

∇

2

1

r

= −4πδ(r) .

The function 1/r = G(r) is called a Green function of the above diﬀerential

equation.

In analogy, we can deﬁne the Green function of the wave equation

∇

2

−

1

c

2

∂

2

∂t

2

G(r, t −t

0

) = −4πδ(r)δ(t −t

0

) .

148

The Fourier transform gives

∇

2

+ k

2

G

k

= −4πδ(r)e

iωt

0

.

where G

k

is the Fourier transform of the Green function G(r, t − t

0

), which

we are trying to ﬁnd.

If there are no boundary surfaces, the Green function depends only on r,

and then the Laplacian operator in spherical coordinates depends only on r

giving

1

r

d

2

dr

2

rG

k

e

−iωt

0

+ k

2

G

k

e

−iωt

0

= −4πδ(r) .

Everywhere except r = 0, the function rG

k

e

−iωt

0

satisﬁes the homogeneous

equation

d

2

dr

2

rG

k

e

−iωt

0

+ k

2

(rG

k

e

−iωt

0

) = 0 ,

whose the solution is

rG

k

e

−iωt

0

= Ae

ikr

+ Be

−ikr

.

In this general solution for the Green function we could equally well choose

the exponential form

G

k

=

e

±ikr

e

iωt

0

r

.

Using the inverse Fourier transform, we ﬁnd

G(r, τ) =

1

2π

∞

−∞

e

±ikr

r

e

−iωτ

dω ,

where τ = t −t

0

.

The integral

1

2π

∞

−∞

e

−iω(τ∓r/c)

dω

149

is the delta function δ(τ ∓r/c). Thus

G(r, τ) =

1

r

δ(τ ∓r/c) .

The Green function is a casual response function, and has the same property

as the scalar potential of a point source.

In summary of the general solution of the Maxwell’s equations

The general (retarded) solutions of the Maxwell’s equations are given in terms

of the vector and scalar potentials

B = ∇

A ,

E = −∇Φ −

∂

A

∂t

, (51)

with

Φ(r, t) =

1

4πε

0

ρ(t −r/c)

r

dV , (52)

A(r, t) =

1

4πε

0

c

2

J(t −r/c)

r

dV , (53)

and the potentials satisfy the Lorenz gauge.

Thus, we do not ﬁnd the ﬁelds by a direct integration of the Maxwell’s equa-

tions. If the charge and current distributions are known, we ﬁrst calculate

the scalar and vector potentials from Eqs. (52) and (53), and then ﬁnd the

electric and magnetic ﬁelds from Eqs. (51).

Revision questions

Question 1. Do we ﬁnd the ﬁelds by a direct integration of the Maxwell’s equa-

tions? Explain.

150

Question 2. Explain the usefulness of the scalar and vector potentials in the

solution of the Maxwell’s equations.

Question 3. Why do we use gauges in the solution of the Maxwell’s equations?

Question 4. Explain how do we solve inhomogeneous wave equations.

Question 5. What is the Green function of a given diﬀerential equation?

151

11 Electromagnetic Antennas: Hertzian Dipole

The electromagnetic ﬁelds of charges in uniform motion are eﬀectively bound

to the charges. The ﬁelds of accelerated (oscillating) charges on the other

hand can propagate as electromagnetic (EM) waves at the speed c and can

have a life of their own (until absorbed by some other charges).

In this lecture we will show how electromagnetic waves are generated by oscil-

lating charges. This will also illustrate an application of the general solution

of the Maxwell’s equations in calculations of the electric and magnetic ﬁelds

produced by a source system containing time varying charges and currents.

First, we will show that this problem can be solved with the help of only

the vector potential

A. Next, we will apply this concept to the problem of

generation of electromagnetic waves.

Consider the retarded solutions of the Maxwell’s equations

B = ∇

A ,

E = −∇Φ −

∂

A

∂t

, (54)

with

Φ ≡ Φ(r, t) =

1

4πε

0

ρ(t −r/c)

r

dV ,

A ≡

A(r, t) =

1

4πε

0

c

2

J(t −r/c)

r

dV .

The above solution holds for the Lorenz gauge in which

∇

A = −

1

c

2

∂Φ

∂t

.

Assume that the position and time variations of the charges and currents can

be separated, so that the charges and currents vary sinusoidally in time

ρ(r, t) = ρ(r)e

iωt

and

J(r, t) =

J(r)e

iωt

.

In this case, the Lorenz gauge takes the form

∇

A = −

iω

c

2

Φ ,

152

which gives

Φ = −

c

2

iω

∇

A . (55)

Thus, the scalar potential can be expressed in terms of the vector potential

A.

In other words, the scalar potential can be eliminated from the ﬁeld equations

leaving only the dependence on

A. As a result, we can express both

E and

B

in terms of the vector potential

A alone. Substituting Eq. (55) into Eq. (54),

we obtain

E =

c

2

iω

∇(∇

A) −

∂

A

∂t

,

B = ∇

A . (56)

Hence, both the electric and magnetic ﬁelds can be found from the vector

potential

A.

This result may seem rather strange at ﬁrst, since normally we should expect

to need both the scalar and vector potentials in order to completely determine

the EM ﬁelds. The explanation and in fact an another way of saying the same

thing is that time varying charge must satisfy the continuity equation

∇

J = −

∂ρ

∂t

= −iωρ ,

so that

ρ = −

∇

J

iω

.

We see that the time varying charge density can be expressed in terms of the

current density. Then the scalar potential becomes

Φ(r, t) =

1

4πε

0

ρ(t −r/c)

r

dV = −

1

4πε

0

iω

∇

J

r

dV

= −

1

4πε

0

iω

∇

J

r

dV = −

c

2

iω

∇

A .

Thus, speciﬁcation of

J alone is suﬃcient to completely determine all sources

of moving (oscillating) charges, and hence a solution for

A in terms of

J con-

tains all the necessary information to completely specify the time-varying

EM ﬁelds.

153

11.1 Generation of electromagnetic waves

We have learnt that the introduction of the concept of displacement current

by Maxwell led to the prediction of electromagnetic waves in vacuum. Now,

we inquire into the sources of electromagnetic waves, i.e. how to generate EM

waves of diﬀerent wavelengths and diﬀerent properties, how to control these

properties and how to propagate these waves in desired directions.

11.1.1 Field of an Element of Alternating Current

Consider a linear element ∆l carrying an alternating current I = I

0

exp(iωt),

as shown in Figure 39. The current element may be viewed as two charges Q

and −Q oscillating back and forth and can be served as an antenna, i.e. a

source of electromagnetic waves.

Figure 39: A linear alternating cur-

rent element ∆l oriented in the z di-

rection. The generated ﬁelds are calcu-

lated in the r direction.

Assume that ∆l is much smaller than

the wavelength λ = 2πc/ω correspond-

ing to the frequency of the oscillation.

In this case, we can ignore the phase

variation of the current along ∆l. Of

course, this is an approximation that

may not hold for many realistic an-

tennas. However, an understanding

of the properties of such an antenna

is of great interest since, in principle,

all radiating structures can be consid-

ered as a sum of small radiating ele-

ments. Moreover, many practical an-

tennas working at low frequencies are

very short compared with the wave-

length.

For the ﬁelds around a small current element, ∆l <λ, there are three spatial

regions (zones) of interest:

• The near ﬁeld (static) zone: ∆l <r <λ

• The intermediate ﬁeld (induction) zone: ∆l <r ∼ λ

• The far ﬁeld (radiation) zone: ∆l <λ <r

154

We will see that the ﬁelds have diﬀerent properties in the diﬀerent zones.

In the near zone the ﬁelds have the character of static ﬁelds, with a strong

dependence on the properties of the source. In the far ﬁeld zone, the ﬁelds

are transverse to the radius vector and fall of as r

−1

, typical of radiation

ﬁelds, and are independent of the source.

Let us calculate the

E and

B ﬁelds around the current element. We start by

considering the retarded current element that cab be written as

J(t −r/c)dV =

I(t −r/c)dl = I

0

e

i(ωt−kr)

dl ,

where k = ω/c.

Since the current is the same at any point of the antenna (∆l < λ), it

appears as a constant for the integartion in

A, and then the vector potential

becomes

A =

I

0

4πε

0

c

2

e

i(ωt−kr)

r

∆l ,

where

∆l =

dl.

In the near zone, where r <λ (or kr <1), the exponent exp(−ikr) can be

replaced by unity. In the far ﬁeld zone kr 1, the exponential oscillates

rapidly, and in this region it is suﬃcient to approximate exp(−ikr) ≈ 1−ikr.

In the intermediate zone, all powers of kr must be retained.

We now calculate directions and magnitudes of the electric and magnetic

ﬁelds produced by the current element. The ﬁelds are most easily evaluated

in spherical polar coordinates, if we choose the direction of the current ele-

ment

∆l along the z-axis, i.e.

∆l = ∆l

**k. We then have that in the spherical
**

coordinate system, the vector potential

A has components

A

r

= A

z

cos θ =

I

0

∆l cos θ

4πε

0

c

2

e

i(ωt−kr)

r

,

A

θ

= −A

z

sin θ = −

I

0

∆l sin θ

4πε

0

c

2

e

i(ωt−kr)

r

, (57)

A

φ

= 0 .

155

According to Eq. (56), to ﬁnd the ﬁelds

E and

B, we have to calculate ∇

A

and ∇

A, that in spherical polar coordinates are given by

∇

A =

1

r

2

∂ (r

2

A

r

)

∂r

+

1

r sin θ

∂ (A

θ

sin θ)

∂θ

+

1

r sin θ

∂A

φ

∂φ

,

and

∇

A =

ˆ r

r sin θ

¸

∂ (A

φ

sin θ)

∂θ

−

∂A

θ

∂φ

¸

+

ˆ

θ

r

¸

1

sin θ

∂A

r

∂φ

−

∂ (rA

φ

)

∂r

¸

+

ˆ

φ

r

¸

∂ (rA

θ

)

∂r

−

∂A

r

∂θ

¸

.

Since A

φ

= 0 and there is no φ dependence of A

r

and A

θ

, i.e. ∂A

r,θ

/∂φ = 0,

the above equations reduce to

∇

A =

1

r

2

∂ (r

2

A

r

)

∂r

+

1

r sin θ

∂ (A

θ

sin θ)

∂θ

, (58)

∇

A =

¸

∂ (rA

θ

)

∂r

−

∂A

r

∂θ

¸

ˆ

φ

r

. (59)

Magnetic ﬁeld

B

Calculate ﬁrst direction and magnitude of the magnetic ﬁeld produced by the

antenna. Since,

B = ∇

A, we easily ﬁnd from Eq. (59) that the magnetic

ﬁeld of the current element is

B = ∇

A = B

φ

ˆ

φ ,

where

B

φ

=

1

r

¸

∂ (rA

θ

)

∂r

−

∂A

r

∂θ

¸

, (60)

and B

r

= B

θ

= 0.

Conclusion: The magnetic ﬁeld produced by the antenna is perpen-

dicular to the radius vector at all distances.

156

Calculate the magnitude B

φ

. Substituting Eq. (57) into Eq. (60), we obtain

B

φ

=

−I

0

∆l

4πε

0

c

2

r

∂

sin θe

i(ωt−kr)

∂r

+

e

i(ωt−kr)

r

∂ cos θ

∂θ

¸

¸

=

I

0

∆l

4πε

0

c

2

r

¸

ik sin θe

i(ωt−kr)

+ sin θ

e

i(ωt−kr)

r

¸

.

Hence

B

φ

=

I

0

∆l

4πε

0

c

2

¸

ik

r

+

1

r

2

¸

sin θe

i(ωt−kr)

.

A number of interesting general conclusions follow from this equation. In the

ﬁrst place, we note that the magnetic ﬁeld is composed of two terms: the

near zone term ∼ 1/r

2

and the far zone term ∼ 1/r. Secondly, we note that

in the limit of ω → 0, the magnetic ﬁeld is composed of only the near zone

term that is the familiar Biot-Savart formula. Finally, the most important

is that the far zone term is only present for an oscillating ﬁeld (ω = 0) and

therefore it represents a radiation ﬁeld arising from accelerated (oscillating)

charge.

Electric ﬁeld

E

We now calculate direction and magnitude of the electric ﬁeld produced by

the antenna, which as we have shown before can be found from the vector

potential

E =

c

2

iω

∇(∇

A) −

∂

A

∂t

,

where

∂

A

∂t

= iω

A = iω

A

r

ˆ r + A

θ

ˆ

θ

.

We ﬁrst calculate ∇

A. Substituting Eq. (57) into Eq. (58), we get

∇

A =

1

r

2

∂ (r

2

A

r

)

∂r

+

1

r sin θ

∂ (sin θA

θ

)

∂θ

157

=

I

0

∆l

4πε

0

c

2

1

r

2

∂

r cos θe

i(ωt−kr)

∂r

−

1

r sin θ

∂

∂θ

sin

2

θ

e

i(ωt−kr)

r

=

I

0

∆l

4πε

0

c

2

cos θ

r

2

e

i(ωt−kr)

−ikre

i(ωt−kr)

−

2 sin θ cos θe

i(ωt−kr)

r

2

sin θ

¸

= −

I

0

∆l

4πε

0

c

2

¸

1

r

2

+

ik

r

¸

cos θe

i(ωt−kr)

.

Next, we take gradient of ∇

A. Since in spherical coordinates

∇ = ˆ r

∂

∂r

+

ˆ

θ

1

r

∂

∂θ

+

ˆ

φ

r sin θ

∂

∂φ

,

we obtain for the components of the gradient:

∇

∇

A

r

= −

I

0

∆l cos θ

4πε

0

c

2

¸

−

2

r

3

−

ik

r

2

+

k

2

r

−

ik

r

2

¸

e

i(ωt−kr)

=

I

0

∆l cos θ

4πε

0

c

2

¸

2

r

3

+

2ik

r

2

−

k

2

r

¸

e

i(ωt−kr)

,

∇

∇

A

θ

=

I

0

∆l

4πε

0

c

2

¸

1

r

3

+

ik

r

2

¸

sin θ e

i(ωt−kr)

,

∇

∇

A

φ

= 0 .

Hence, the radial part of the electric ﬁeld, E

r

, is

E

r

=

c

2

iω

∇(∇

A)

r

−

∂

A

∂t

¸

¸

r

=

I

0

∆l cos θ

4πε

0

iω

¸

2

r

3

+

2ik

r

2

−

k

2

r

¸

e

i(ωt−kr)

−iω

I

0

∆l cos θ

4πε

0

c

2

e

i(ωt−kr)

r

=

I

0

∆l cos θ

4πε

0

c

¸

2

ikr

3

+

2

r

2

+

ik

r

−

iω

cr

¸

e

i(ωt−kr)

.

Since k = ω/c, the 1/r terms cancel and then E

r

simpliﬁes to

E

r

=

I

0

∆l cos θ

4πε

0

c

¸

2

ikr

3

+

2

r

2

e

i(ωt−kr)

. (61)

158

Similarly, we ﬁnd the polar component of E as

E

θ

=

c

2

iω

∇(∇

A)

θ

−

∂

A

∂t

¸

¸

θ

=

I

0

∆l sin θ

4πε

0

iω

¸

1

r

3

+

ik

r

2

¸

e

i(ωt−kr)

+ iω

I

0

∆l sin θ

4πε

0

c

2

e

i(ωt−kr)

r

=

I

0

∆l sin θ

4πε

0

c

¸

1

ikr

3

+

1

r

2

+

ik

r

¸

e

i(ωt−kr)

. (62)

The azimuthal component of the electric ﬁeld E

φ

= 0.

Note that the radial part of the electric ﬁeld, Eq. (61), contributes only to

the near and intermediate zones, whereas the angular polar part, Eq. (62),

contributes to all of the zones.

Theorem:

The near-zone 1/r

3

part is the Coulomb type contribution. It is similar in

nature to a static ﬁeld surrounding a small linear-current element and an

electric dipole.

Proof:

The Coulomb or static ﬁeld is for ω →0. In this limit the 1/r

3

contribution is

E

θ

=

I

0

∆l sin θ

4πε

0

c

1

ikr

3

e

i(ωt−kr)

=

I

0

∆l sin θ

4πε

0

c

1

ikr

3

1 −ikr +

1

2

(−ikr)

2

+

= −

I

0

∆l sin θ

4πε

0

c

1

r

2

,

where we have taken only the real (physical) part of the ﬁeld.

Since I

0

= ∆q/∆t and ∆l/∆t = c, we get

E

θ

= −

∆q sin θ

4πε

0

1

r

2

,

159

as required.

Electric and magnetic ﬁelds in near and far ﬁeld zones

Consider ﬁrst the near ﬁeld zone (r < λ). In this limit the magnetic and

electric ﬁelds are

B

near

=

I

0

∆l

4πε

0

c

2

1

r

2

sin θe

i(ωt−kr)

ˆ

φ ,

E

near

= −i

I

0

∆l

4πε

0

c

2

kr

3

e

i(ωt−kr)

cos θˆ r + sin θ

ˆ

θ

.

Since the magnetic ﬁeld is real and the electric ﬁeld is imaginary, the Pointing

vector involving the near-zone ﬁeld components is a pure imaginary quantity.

It does not represent any ﬂow of energy. This imaginary quantity represents

energy that oscillates back and forth between the source and the region of

space surrounding the source.

Consider now the far zone or radiation components of the magnetic and

electric ﬁelds.

E

rad

= E

R

θ

ˆ

θ , E

R

θ

=

I

0

∆l sin θ

4πε

0

c

ik

r

e

i(ωt−kr)

,

B

rad

= B

R

φ

ˆ

φ , B

R

φ

=

I

0

∆l sin θ

4πε

0

c

2

ik

r

e

i(ωt−kr)

. (63)

Note the following properties of the radiation components:

1. The electric and magnetic ﬁelds oscillate in phase.

2. The electric and magnetic ﬁelds are orthogonal to each other.

3. The ratio

E

R

θ

B

R

φ

= c, the value for plane waves in free space.

4. The electric and magnetic ﬁelds are transverse to the radius vector at

all distances.

5. The Poynting vector

N = c

2

ε

0

E

rad

B

rad

is a real quantity and is in

the direction of the radius vector, indicating that the energy of the ﬁeld

propagates away from the current element.

These properties show that in the far zone the EM ﬁeld is in a form of plane

waves propagating with the speed of light c.

160

11.2 Power Radiated from the Current Element

Consider now the radiation power emitted by the antenna. By the radiation

power we mean that part of energy which is carried by the radiation com-

ponents of the ﬁeld. We will show that the radiation power is equal to the

radiation losses, i.e. energy carried by the plane electromagnetic wave that

propagates on its own independent of the source.

The power ﬂux at any point is given by the Poynting vector

N = c

2

ε

0

E

B .

Then, the total power radiated across a sphere of radius r is

W =

S

N

dS ,

where

dS = r

2

sin θ dθdφ .

Only those partial products in

E

B which vary as 1/r

2

will have net radi-

ated power. The other partial products are small as they fall oﬀ more rapidly

than 1/r

2

. Thus, the only part of the ﬁelds entering into the expression for

the radiated power is the far ﬁeld zone part (radiation component) consisting

of the terms varying as 1/r.

The radiation components of

E and

B oscillate in phase as sine or cosine

functions. Thus, an average of their product over time is

¯

E

R

B

R

=

1

2

E

R

θ

0

B

R

φ

0

,

where

E

R

θ

0

and

B

R

φ

0

are amplitudes of E

R

θ

and B

R

φ

.

On substituting from Eq. (63), we ﬁnd that the time averaged Poynting

vector is

¯

N =

1

2

c

2

ε

0

I

2

0

∆l

2

16π

2

ε

2

0

c

3

k

2

r

2

sin

2

θ

=

I

2

0

∆l

2

32π

2

ε

0

c

4π

2

λ

2

r

2

sin

2

θ =

I

2

0

8ε

0

c

¸

∆l

λ

¸

2

sin

2

θ

r

2

.

161

Hence, integrating over all directions, we get the total power emitted by the

antenna

W =

π

0

2π

0

r

2

¯

N sin θ dθdφ

=

2π

0

I

2

0

8ε

0

c

¸

∆l

λ

¸

2

dφ

π

0

sin

3

θdθ .

Performing the integration over φ that is equal to 2π, and over θ that is equal

to 4/3, we get

W = 2π

I

2

0

8ε

0

c

¸

∆l

λ

¸

2

4

3

=

πI

2

0

3ε

0

c

¸

∆l

λ

¸

2

.

We can write the total power radiated in terms of the power absorbed in an

equivalent resistance, called the radiation resistance, as

W =

1

2

2π

3ε

0

c

¸

∆l

λ

¸

2

I

2

0

=

1

2

RI

2

0

.

where

R =

2π

3ε

0

c

¸

∆l

λ

¸

2

is the radiation resistance.

Since 1/(ε

0

c) =

µ

0

/ε

0

= 377, or 120π, we obtain for R:

R = 80π

2

¸

∆l

λ

¸

2

.

For example, if ∆l/λ ≈ 0.1, then R = 0.8π

2

≈ 8 ohms.

This example shows that for a current element which is 10% of the wave-

length long, the resistance is very small.

Thus, if ∆l/λ <1, the radiation losses are negligible, that the radiated power

is very small. In terms of the emitted radiation, the emitted EM waves are

very weak in power.

162

With a short linear current element, an appreciable power would be radiated

only if the current amplitude I

0

were very large. A large current, on the other

hand, would lead to large amounts of power dissipation in the conductor, and

hence a very low eﬃciency.

We can conclude that current carrying systems that have linear dimensions

small compared with the wavelength radiate negligible power. An eﬃcient

antenna should have dimensions comparable to or greater than the wave-

length.

11.3 Gain of the Dipole Antenna

A further property of the dipole antenna that is worthy of consideration is

the directional property of power radiated in diﬀerent directions.

The gain or directivity function of a transmitting antenna is the ratio of the

Poynting ﬂux to the ﬂux due to an isotropic radiator emitting the same total

power W:

g

T

(θ, φ) =

N(θ, φ)

N

iso

,

where

N

iso

=

W

4πr

2

is the energy ﬂux uniform in all directions.

Since for the inﬁnitesimal dipole:

N(θ, φ) =

I

2

0

8ε

0

c

¸

∆l

λ

¸

2

sin

2

θ

r

2

,

and

W =

πI

2

0

3ε

0

c

¸

∆l

λ

¸

2

,

163

we obtain

g

T

(θ, φ) = g

T

(θ) =

3

2

sin

2

θ .

The directivity function g

T

(θ, φ) deﬁnes a three-dimensional surface called

the polar radiation pattern of the antenna.

Figure 40: The polar radiation pattern of

the dipole antenna.

The function varies as sin

2

θ, and

hence the radiation is most intense

in the θ = π/2 direction (perpen-

dicular to the axis of the dipole)

and zero in the directions θ = 0, π

(on the axis of the dipole). The

maximum gain then is 1.5 for di-

rections deﬁned by θ = π/2, in

the equatorial plane of the dipole.

The gain function is independent

of φ.

The spatial distribution of the radiated power can be shown on a polar di-

agram, such as in Figure 40, which gives the relative values of the radiated

power at diﬀerent positions on the surface of a sphere centered on the dipole.

We can conclude, that the directivity function g

T

(θ, φ) is a measure of how

eﬀective the antenna is in concentrating the radiated power in a given direc-

tion.

164

Revision questions

Question 1. Under what condition the ﬁelds can be expressed solely by the vec-

tor potential?

Question 2. What do we mean by ”near zone” and ”far ﬁeld zone”?

Question 3. What are the properties of the EM ﬁeld in the far ﬁeld zone?

Question 4. Show that the power radiated by an antenna is equal to the radia-

tion losses.

Question 5. Why emitted waves of a short antenna are very weak?

Question 6. What is the spatial distribution of the power emitted by a short

antenna?

165

12 Electromagnetic Theory of Polarizable

Materials

Condense matter physics and electromagnetism theories used to be regarded

as almost separate subjects. However, in next few lectures, we will illustrate

how matter and electromagnetism are integrated and how the electromag-

netic theory may be applied to condense matter physics to explain the prop-

erties of conducting materials and insulators, or dielectrics as they are often

called. Materials such as conductors or insulators are composed of atoms

that contain free and bounded electric charges. The charges can be redis-

tributed by an application of external ﬁelds. We will focus on ”new” ﬁelds

induced by redistributed electric charges and will show how these problems

can be solved with the help of only the scalar potential Φ.

We proceed our analysis by introducing the microscopic (atomic) model of

materials and for this purpose simpliﬁed models of the atom will be used.

In this simpliﬁed model, the atom consists of a positively charged nucleus

surrounded by a spherically symmetric cloud of electrons. In the absence of

an external electric ﬁeld, the electrons and nucleus are in a stable equilib-

rium. What happens if the atom is placed in an external electric ﬁeld? If

an uncharged dielectric (insulator) is placed in an electric ﬁeld, the ﬁeld will

redistribute the charges within the dielectric. An eﬀective non-zero charge is

induced by rearrangement of bound charges within the atoms or molecules

of the dielectric. In dielectrics these charges are a set of molecular dipoles

that, in turn, will set up a secondary (induced) ﬁeld so that the net ﬁeld will

be modiﬁed from its original (external) value. We will show how the modiﬁ-

cation of the ﬁeld led to the concept of an another ﬁeld vector; the dielectric

displacement vector

D. The advantage of using the dielectric displacement

vector and its physical properties will be explored.

In materials, electric dipoles may exist permanently or may be induced by

the external ﬁeld. Dielectrics with permanent dipole moments are usually

electrically neutral due to random orientation, in the absence of electric ﬁelds,

of the dipole moments. An example is H

2

O. The application of an external

electric ﬁeld causes all molecules composing the dielectric to align themselves

with the external ﬁeld. This produces a macroscopic dipole moment. We will

166

study electromagnetic theory of polarizable materials in terms of microscopic

objects, electric dipoles, which we will treat as building blocks of dielectric

materials. As we shall see, despite this simplicity, the model satisfactorily

predicts the macroscopic behavior of dielectric materials.

12.1 Potential and Electric Field of a Single Dipole

Mathematically, for the calculations of the ﬁeld of distributed charges in-

side a dielectric material, it is convenient to deal with a separate object, the

dipole, that is composed of two bounded charges of oposite signs separated

by a small distance, not as just a pair of individual plus and minus charges.

Figure 41: A schematic model for

the calculation of the potential pro-

duced by an electric dipole.

Suppose that two opposite sign point

charges ±q are separated by a dis-

tance d. We will ﬁnd the potential Φ

and the electric ﬁeld

E at a point A dis-

tance r and angle θ under the assump-

tion that the distance r is much larger

than the separation between the charges,

i.e. r d. The potential Φ pro-

duced by two separated charges of op-

posite sign is called the dipole poten-

tial.

We deﬁne electric dipole moment as the

product of the charge times the separation.

It is a vector that points from the negative charge to positive charge

p = q

d .

Since r

2

− r

1

≈ d cos θ at distances r d and d cos θ = p ˆ r, we get for the

potential at the point A:

Φ =

q

4πε

0

r

1

−

q

4πε

0

r

2

=

q

4πε

0

r

2

−r

1

r

1

r

2

=

q

4πε

0

d cos θ

r

1

r

2

≈

1

4πε

0

p ˆ r

r

2

. (64)

Hence, we can ﬁnd electric ﬁeld of the dipole using the relation

E = −∇Φ.

Since the potential of the dipole depends on r and θ, it is convenient to work

167

in the spherical coordinates in which the electric ﬁeld is given by

E = E

r

ˆ r + E

θ

ˆ

θ + E

φ

ˆ

φ ,

Figure 42: The electric ﬁeld lines of a

dipole moment.

where the components are

E

r

= −

∂Φ

∂r

=

1

4πε

0

2p cos θ

r

3

,

E

θ

= −

1

r

∂Φ

∂θ

=

1

4πε

0

p sin θ

r

3

,

E

φ

= −

1

r sin θ

∂Φ

∂φ

= 0 .

Hence

E =

p

4πε

0

r

3

2 cos θ ˆ r + sin θ

ˆ

θ

.

One can note that the ﬁeld has az-

imuthal symmetry. The ﬁeld is pro-

portional to (1/r)

3

so that it falls

rapidly with distance. Moreover, in the direction perpendicular to the dipole

moment, θ = 90

◦

, the ﬁeld points in the opposite direction to the dipole

moment at all distances. Figure 42 shows a sketch of the electric ﬁeld lines

of an electric dipole moment.

12.2 Polarization Vector

If there are N dipoles per unit volume of a dielectric, the total dipole mo-

ment is:

P =

N

¸

i=1

p

i

,

and is called the polarization.

The electric potential set up in the space by a dielectric material with an

arbitrary volume distribution of electric dipoles can be calculated by using

the potential produced by a single dipole, Eq. (64), and the above deﬁnition

168

of

P. The electric potential at an arbitrary point A distance r from a volume

element dV containing such dipoles is

dΦ =

1

4πε

0

P ˆ r

r

2

dV ,

where ˆ r is the unit vector from dV towards A, and we have assumed that r

is much larger than the extent of the volume element dV .

Figure 43: Schematic diagram for cal-

culations of the scalar potential pro-

duced at point A by a macroscopic ma-

terial of the polarization

P.

Let ˆ r be the unit vector from A to-

wards dV . (We want to integrate over V

with the position of A ﬁxed). In this case,

we change ˆ r →−ˆ r, and obtain

dΦ =

1

4πε

0

P

−

ˆ r

r

2

dV ,

and then the potential measured in the

direction towards the volume V is

Φ =

1

4πε

0

V

P

−

ˆ r

r

2

dV .

It is diﬃcult to interprete this form of

the potential as it is not in the form of

a potential known from the electrostat-

ics.

However, the result can be transformed into a form that can be interpreted

with the help of the general form of the static potentials.

First, noting that

−

ˆ r

r

2

= ∇

1

r

,

we have that

P

−

ˆ r

r

2

=

P ∇

1

r

.

169

Next, applying a vector identity ∇ (Φ

A) = Φ∇

A +

A ∇Φ, we can write

the above expression as

P ∇

1

r

= ∇

¸

P

r

¸

−

∇

P

r

.

Hence, we can write the potential as a sum of two terms both involving

the 1/r function

Φ =

1

4πε

0

V

∇

¸

P

r

¸

dV +

1

4πε

0

V

¸

−

∇

P

r

¸

dV .

Note that the second term varies with r explicitly as the 1/r function, but

in the ﬁrst term, the 1/r function is under the nabla operator. However, we

can use the Gauss’s divergence theorem to transform the ﬁrst term into the

surface integration. In this case, the ﬁrst term becomes a simple function

of 1/r, so that the potential takes the form

Φ =

1

4πε

0

S

P ˆ n

r

dS +

1

4πε

0

V

¸

−

∇

P

r

¸

dV , (65)

where ˆ n is the unit vector normal to the surface of the material.

Figure 44: Surface (left picture) and volume charges (right picture).

On comparing with the general form of the static potential, Eq. (48), the ex-

pression (65) can be interpreted as follows. The ﬁrst term on the right-hand

170

side, a surface integral, is a potential equivalent to that of a surface charge

density σ

s

=

P ˆ n. The second term is a potential equivalent to that of a

volume charge density σ

V

= −∇

P.

Where did this interpretation came from? It can be explained by using a

simple picture shown in Figure 44. Surface charges exist because there are

no neighboring charges at the end surfaces of the material to cancel them

out. Volume charges exist because the number of dipoles per unit volume

changes, that there is an incomplete cancellation of charge density from ad-

jacent dipoles.

Materials which have a non-zero volume charge density are called inhomo-

geneous materials. Thus, a suﬃcient condition for a material to be homoge-

neous is that the polarization of the material have a zero divergence.

12.3 Maxwell’s Equation for ∇

E in a Dielectric

We have just seen that a non-zero potential outside a dielectric material is

produced by surface and volume charges. A question then arises: What is

the electric ﬁeld inside and outside the dielectric when extra polarization

charges are present?

In general, the electric ﬁeld in the dielectric can be found from the Maxwell’s

equation I:

∇

E =

ρ

ε

0

,

where ρ is the total volume charge density inside the dielectric.

16

In the dielectric it is convenient to (mentally) separate the polarization

charges from whatever other charges might be there also. The other charges

are usually referred to as the free charges or conducting charges to distin-

guish them from the bound charges in the dielectric.

16

Why the surface charge density is not taken into account in the Maxwell’s equation I?

171

We may write the Maxwell’s equation I as

ε

0

∇

E = ρ

f

+ ρ

p

,

where ρ

f

is the ”free” charge density and ρ

p

is the polarization charge density

throughout the volume. If we express ρ

p

in terms of

P, i.e. if we write

ρ

p

= −∇

P, we obtain

ε

0

∇

E = ρ

f

−∇

P .

Hence

∇ (ε

0

E +

P) = ρ

f

. (66)

Now it is common practice to drop the subscript f, but one must remember

that ρ now stands for the charge density not counting the polarization charges.

Next, we can deﬁne a new vector

D = ε

0

E +

P , (67)

called the dielectric displacement ﬁeld,

17

and write Eq. (66) as

∇

D = ρ .

We can read this equation that the source of the ﬁeld

D inside a dielectric is

the free charge density ρ.

17

The reason for the name ”dielectric displacement” can be easily understood if we refer

to the Maxwell’s theory. Take time derivative of both sides of Eq. (67):

∂

D

∂t

= ε

0

∂

E

∂t

+

∂

P

∂t

.

We know from the Maxwell’s theory that the ﬁrst term on the rhs of the above equation

represents displacement current density, and the second term is the polarization current

density. Therefore, ∂

**D/∂t can be called a generalization of the displacement current
**

density, and then

D can be regarded as the dielectric displacement.

172

12.4 Macroscopic Eﬀects of the Polarizability

We turn now to a consideration of the macroscopic eﬀects of the polarizabil-

ity of dielectric materials. We will consider only ideal dielectrics.

Ideal dielectrics can be divided into following categories:

1. Homogeneous – properties independent of the position.

2. Isotropic – properties independent of direction.

3. Linear – polarization proportional to

E.

4. Stationary – properties independent of time.

Case of simple isotropic and linear dielectrics

Ordinary dielectrics (glass, teﬂon, plastics etc.) are linear in polarization for

ﬁelds not strong enough to cause dielectric breakdown i.e.

P ∝

E.

For these materials, we can write

P = Nα

E = χε

0

E ,

where α is the polarizability of a single atom (molecule), and χ is the dielec-

tric susceptibility. Then, we can write the dielectric displacement as

D = ε

0

E +

P = ε

0

(1 + χ)

E = ε

0

ε

r

E = ε

E ,

where ε

r

is the relative permittivity or dielectric constant, and ε is the per-

mittivity. Hence

∇

D = ∇ (ε

E) = ρ

or

∇

E =

ρ

ε

,

if ε is independent of position i.e. if ε is a permittivity of a homogeneous

dielectric.

173

The same result would be obtained by replacing ε

0

in Coulomb’s law by ε.

F =

1

4πε

q

1

q

2

r

2

ˆ r .

The ratio ε/ε

0

then represents the relative shielding of q

1

from q

2

by the

polarization charges induced in the medium.

How do we determine the permittivity of a given material?

The theory of the molecular structure of a material will yield an estimate

of χ and ε. The dipole moment p of a molecule will be proportional to

the local electric ﬁeld

E so we can deﬁne a molecular susceptibility χ

m

such

that p = χ

m

ε

0

E. Then

P =

¸

i

p

i

= Nχ

m

ε

0

E ,

where N is the number of molecules per unit volume. Thus

ε = ε

0

ε

r

= ε

0

(1 + Nχ

m

)

and ε is a quantity directly measurable from the measurement of capacitance

C =

εA

d

= ε

r

ε

0

A

d

= ε

r

C

0

,

where C

0

is the capacitance without the dielectric.

We can summarize: Filling a capacitor with dielectric multiplies its ca-

pacitance by ε

r

.

Exercise in class: Capacitor ﬁlled with a homogeneous dielectric

A plane parallel capacitor has charges +σ and −σ per unit

area on its plates. The capacitor is ﬁlled with a homoge-

neous and linear dielectric of dielectric constant ε

r

= 1+χ.

Show that:

174

(a) The electric ﬁeld within the dielectric is:

E =

σ

ε

r

ε

0

.

(b) The polarization charge per unit area on the surface

of the dielectric adjacent to the surface of the negatively

charged plate is:

σ

s

=

χσ

1 +χ

.

(c) The capacitance of the capacitor is C = ε

r

C

0

where C

0

is the capacitance of the same capacitor without the dielec-

tric (i.e. a vacuum or air between the plates).

175

12.5 Dense Dielectrics: The Clausius-Mossotti Rela-

tion

In the standard calculations of the polarization of macroscopic materials, it is

often assumed that the ﬁeld

E is the same at any point of the material. How-

ever, for an extended dense materials the ﬁeld

E may vary with the position

and the calculation of the dielectric constant of the material may not agree

with an experimental measurement. This is what really happens. Therefore

the approach of a constant ﬁeld through the whole area of the material must

be modiﬁed.

It was Lorentz, who proposed an approach that resolved this problem. The

Lorentz theory of polarizability of dense dielectric materials distinguishes be-

tween the mean electric ﬁeld

E and the local electric ﬁeld

E

loc

as seen by a

typical dipole. The typical dipole is considered to be at the center of a small

sphere that has been excavated from the dielectric.

E

loc

is thus the mean

ﬁeld

E minus

E

plug

where

E

plug

is the ﬁeld of the spherical volume excavated.

Let us see what would be the ﬁeld at this area if the dipole is not there.

Let

E be the mean ﬁeld throughout the dielectric.

Let

E

plug

be the ﬁeld due to the spherical plug alone.

Let

E

loc

be the ﬁeld in the spherical hole.

E =

E

loc

+

E

plug

and

E

plug

= −

P

3ε

0

.

Thus, the ﬁeld acting to polarize the molecule is equal to

E minus the con-

tribution to the total average ﬁeld from the molecule itself. Hence

E

loc

=

E +

P

3ε

0

.

The argument now is that each molecule is at the centre of a small hole

and the ﬁeld acting on the molecule is thus

E

loc

. If α is the molecular

polarizability, its induced dipole is thus:

p = α

E

loc

176

If there are N molecules per unit volume then:

P = N p = Nα

E

loc

= Nα

¸

E +

P

3ε

0

¸

.

By deﬁnition:

P = χε

0

E = (ε

r

− 1)ε

0

E. Substituting for

P in the above

equation, we obtain

(ε

r

−1)ε

0

E = Nα

¸

E +

(ε

r

−1)ε

0

3ε

0

E

¸

.

Hence

(ε

r

−1)ε

0

= Nα

1 +

ε

r

−1

3

=

Nα

3

(ε

r

+ 2) ,

and ﬁnally

ε

r

−1

ε

r

+ 2

=

Nα

3ε

0

.

This is known as the Clausius-Mossotti relation for a dense dielectric. Assum-

ing that α is known, we can compute ε

r

- dielectric constant of the material.

The Clausius-Mossotti relation works pretty well for most of dense materials.

However, it has a weak point. To illustrate this, we solve the Clausius-

Mossotti equation for ε

r

. Since

ε

r

−1 = (ε

r

+ 2)

Nα

3ε

0

,

we obtain for ε

r

:

ε

r

=

1 +

2Nα

3ε

0

/

1 −

Nα

3ε

0

.

Note that

ε

r

=

1 +

2Nα

3ε

0

1 −

Nα

3ε

0

→∞ as

Nα

3ε

0

→1 .

We see that one can adjust the number of the dipoles to get an inﬁnite di-

electric constant of a ﬁnite material. This is called the Clausius-Mossotti

177

catastrophe.

This eﬀect can be explained as follows: Removal of the plug leaves polariza-

tion charges, whose ﬁeld tends to line up the dipole parallel to the ﬁeld. The

system is self-polarizing (Clausius-Mossotti catastrophe) if

Nα

3ε

0

→1, i.e. the

system induces

P without an external ﬁeld.

12.6 Dielectric in a Time Dependent Field

Let us consider what will happen if a dielectric is introduced into an alter-

nating electric ﬁeld. The student immediately conclude that the alternating

electric ﬁeld will create oscillating dipole moments inside the material, or

equivalently, an oscillating polarization of the material. This is true, but

then an another question arises: How does the polarization follow the oscil-

lating external ﬁeld?

Figure 45: A plane plate capacitor ﬁlled

with a dielectric and connected to an alter-

nating current.

To answer this question, let us

consider an experiment, illustrated

in Figure 45, involving a plane

plate capacitor ﬁlled with a di-

electric and connected to an os-

cillating AC current. The alter-

nating current will create an oscil-

lating electric ﬁeld inside the ca-

pacitor which will cause the elec-

tric dipoles of the dielectric to os-

cillate in time. On the other

hand, the oscillating electric ﬁeld

will induce oscillating polarization

charges.

What are the oscillating polarization charges equivalent to? The induced

polarization charges do not produce any currents inside the dielectric. There

is no DC current in response to a DC electric ﬁeld, but if

P is changing with

178

time (because

E is changing with time) there will be an AC current density:

J =

∂σ

s

∂t

ˆ n =

∂

P

∂t

.

Thus, ∂

**P/∂t plays the role of polarization current density.
**

With the alternating electric ﬁeld present, the polarization

P may lag in

phase behind the driving ﬁeld

E. This means there is internal friction and

heat dissipation. If it happen, the capacitor will exhibit resistive as well as

capacitive properties.

Since resistivity leads to a dissipation of the energy, we proceed by considering

the work done in charging the capacitor. It is deﬁned as

dW

dt

= V I = Ed

dQ

dt

,

where V is the voltage.

Thus, we have to ﬁnd how quickly the charge on the plates is changing in

time.

Since we are interested in the time variation of the electric ﬁeld and the

polarization, we express the charge in terms of the ﬁeld quantities

Q = CV = CEd =

εA

d

Ed = AεE = AD ,

from which, we obtain

Q = A(ε

0

E + P) .

Then work in terms of the ﬁeld variables is

dW

dt

= Ed

d

dt

A(ε

0

E + P) = E dA

d

dt

(ε

0

E + P) .

Since dA = 1 is the volume of the capacitor, we can write

dW

dt

=

V

¸

E

d

dt

(ε

0

E) + E

dP

dt

¸

d1 ,

179

or

dW

dt

=

V

d

dt

1

2

ε

0

E

2

d1 +

V

E

dP

dt

d1 ,

where we took into account a possibility that the electric ﬁeld and polariza-

tion can vary across the capacitor’s plates.

The ﬁrst term in the above equation is the rate of doing work building up

E

ﬁeld.

The second term is the rate of doing work on the dipoles by

E.

Thus, the supplied energy to the capacitor is used to build up the electric

ﬁeld inside the capacitor and to polarize the dielectric. Consider separately

both terms.

First term:

If E = E

0

cos(ωt), the ﬁrst term takes the form

V

(−E

0

cos(ωt) ε

0

ωE

0

sin(ωt)) d1 .

The element of work done per unit volume and unit time is

dW

d1

= −ε

0

ωE

2

0

cos(ωt) sin(ωt) .

Averaging over a cycle, we get

dW

d1

= −ε

0

ωE

2

0

2π/ω

t=0

cos(ωt) sin(ωt) dt = 0 .

No energy has been used to build up the electric ﬁeld inside the capacitor.

Work is done building up the ﬁeld in one part of the cycle but the stored

energy is given back in another part.

Second term:

180

If P = χε

0

E = χε

0

E

0

cos(ωt) the same zero net energy conversion averaged

over a cycle will happen with this term. If there is internal friction there will

be a phase diﬀerence between P and E, that P does not follow the changes

in E. If we write

P = χε

0

E

0

cos(ωt + φ) ,

where φ represents a phase diﬀerence between P and E, we get for the

polarization

P = χε

0

E

0

cos φ cos(ωt) −χε

0

E

0

sin φ sin(ωt) .

Taking the time derivative, we get

dP

dt

= −ωχε

0

E

0

cos φ sin(ωt) −ωχε

0

E

0

sin φ cos(ωt) .

Hence, the work done per unit volume per cycle will be

dW

d1

= −

2π/ω

0

ωχε

0

E

2

0

cos φ cos(ωt) sin(ωt) dt

−

2π/ω

0

ωχε

0

E

2

0

sin φ cos

2

(ωt) dt .

Since the ﬁrst integral is zero, we get

dW

d1

= −ωχε

0

E

2

0

sin φ

2π/ω

0

cos

2

(ωt) dt . (68)

The integral on the rhs of the above equation is positive and dW/d1 must

be positive corresponding to energy dissipation (or the dielectric would keep

getting energy from its interior and building up the ﬁeld with it).

Thus, sin φ must be negative, so −π < φ < 0. This means that the polariza-

tion lags in phase the electric ﬁeld.

P = χε

0

E

0

cos(ωt −φ) .

In summary: Equation (68) shows that an energy is lost in each cycle of the

oscillations. In practice, it is dissipated as a heat in the material. The energy

loss is caused by the work required to change the polarization of the material.

181

12.7 The Complex Susceptibility and Permitivity

We have learnt that the polarization of a linear dielectric is proportional to

the ﬁeld and the proportionality is determined by the dielectric constant or

susceptibility. In the previous lecture, we have modeled the fact that in real

dielectrics, the polarization may lag in phase behind the driving ﬁeld

E by

introducing the phase diﬀerence φ between

P and

E. We may now ask: If

P

lags in phase behind

E, how does then the relation between

P and

E is af-

fected?

To answer this question, it is convenient to use complex exponentials to

represent amplitude and phase of an oscillating quantity. We write

E =

E

0

e

iωt

and

P =

P

0

e

i(ωt−φ)

, (φ is positive) .

We can write the complex polarization in diﬀerent forms

P =

P

0

e

−iφ

e

iωt

= (

P

0

cos φ −i

P

0

sin φ)e

iωt

,

P =

¸

P

0

E

0

cos φ −i

P

0

E

0

sin φ

¸

E

0

e

iωt

,

P = ε

0

(χ

−iχ

)

E

0

e

iωt

= ε

0

χ

c

E

0

e

iωt

= ε

0

χ

c

E .

The relation between

P and

E is the same as before for a constant external

ﬁeld. However, now χ

c

= χ

− iχ

**is a complex quantity called a complex
**

susceptibility.

Thus, the phase diﬀerence between the polarization and the exter-

nal ﬁeld leads to a complex susceptibility of a dielectric material.

In other words, the internal friction of the material results in a

complex susceptibility.

With the complex polarization, the dielectric displacement takes the form

D = ε

0

E +

P = ε

0

E + ε

0

χ

c

E = ε

0

(1 + χ

c

)

E ,

or

D = ε

0

(1 + χ

−iχ

)

E = ε

0

ε

r

E = ε

c

E ,

182

where ε

c

is a complex permittivity, and ε

r

is a complex relative permittivity

or dielectric constant

ε

c

= ε

0

(1 + χ

) −iε

0

χ

.

How do we in practice estimate losses in a given material? In other words,

how do we calculate χ

**for a given material?
**

The imaginary part of ε

r

, χ

**, can be determined from the following experi-
**

ment involving a capacitor ﬁlled with a dielectric.

Figure 46:

As we have just shown, the imag-

inary part of the dielectric suscep-

tibility represents losses, i.e. cor-

responds to net energy dissipation.

In the circuit theory language the

imaginary component of the dielec-

tric susceptibility adds a resistive

component to the capacitor. The

material ﬁlling the capacitor could

also have some ordinary ohmic con-

ductivity (due to the presence of

‘free’ charges as well as ‘bound’ charges in the material). Let us calculate

the magnitude of the total resistance of the dielectric. Simply, we will con-

sider the Ohm’s law for the capacitor and will ﬁnd the relation between an

external current supplied to the capacitor and voltage. The relation will give

us an information about the resistance of the capacitor.

Let I be the oscillating current in the external circuit, and

I

p

=

J

p

d

A = A

dP

dt

be the polarization current in the dielectric. Let

I

c

=

J

c

d

A = AσE = Aσ

V

d

be the conduction current in the dielectric due to its ﬁnite conductivity σ.

183

If σ

s

is the charge density on the plates, then the eﬀective charge on the

plates is

Q = σ

s

A = q

I

−q

p

−q

c

,

where q

I

is the charge supplied by I, q

p

is the charge removed by the polar-

ization current I

p

, and q

c

is the charge removed by the conduction current I

c

.

We can write the eﬀective charge as

Q =

I dt −

I

p

dt −

I

c

dt .

Since the electric ﬁeld inside the capacitor is

E =

σ

s

ε

0

=

V

d

,

we can ﬁnd the surface charge density

σ

s

= ε

0

V

d

.

and write the eﬀective charge as

Q = σ

s

A = ε

0

V

d

A =

Idt −

I

p

dt −

I

c

dt .

By taking a derivative in time of the both sides of the above equation, and

substituting for P the relation, P = χ

c

ε

0

E = χ

c

ε

0

V

d

, we get

ε

0

A

d

dV

dt

= I −I

p

−I

c

= I −A

χ

c

ε

0

d

dV

dt

−A

σV

d

. (69)

Putting

dV

dt

= iωV , χ

c

= χ

−i χ

,

and solving Eq. (69) for I, we get

I =

ε

0

A

d

¸

(1 + χ

−iχ

)iω +

σ

ε

0

V .

Separating real and imaginary parts and putting C

0

= ε

0

A/d (the capaci-

tance there would be if the dielectric were lossless), we ﬁnd

I =

¸

C

0

σ

ε

0

+ ωχ

+ iωC

0

(1 + χ

)

V .

184

Figure 47:

Since the capacitor transmits some

charges through the internal dielec-

tric, in the circuit theory this system

is equivalent to a parallel circuit, as

shown in Figure 47. For the parallel

circuit

I =

1

R

+ iωC

V .

Comparing with the above result for

current ﬂow in the lossy capacitor

we see that the eﬀective capacitance

is C

0

(1 + χ

**) and the eﬀective resistance is
**

R =

1

C

0

σ

ε

0

+ ωχ

,

where we remember that C

0

is the capacitance in the absence of losses.

12.8 The Loss Tangent

The properties of a dielectric material are usually speciﬁed by giving its di-

electric constant K, and its loss tangent tan δ.

We can write the general Ohm’s law as

I = iωC

0

¸

(1 + χ

) −i

χ

+

σ

ε

0

ω

V .

The quantity in [ ] brackets can be deﬁned as a complex relative permittiv-

ity ε

r

:

ε

r

= 1 + χ

−i

χ

+

σ

ε

0

ω

.

This is a generalization on the previous deﬁnition of complex relative per-

mittivity to include the eﬀects of ohmic conductivity. Then we can deﬁne a

185

generalized permittivity and dielectric constant ε = ε

0

ε

r

.

Now if we write

ε

r

= K

e

−iδ

= K

(cos δ −i sin δ)

= K

**cos δ(1 −i tan δ) = K(1 −i tan δ) .
**

Then the standard form for permittivity is

ε = ε

0

K(1 −i tan δ) ,

where tan δ is the ‘loss tangent’.

18

Since K

cos δ = (1 + χ

) and K

sin δ = (χ

+

σ

ε

0

ω

) it follows that:

tan δ =

χ

+

σ

ε

0

ω

[1 + χ

]

.

In this equation, tan δ includes the eﬀects of ﬁnite conductivity and the eﬀects

of polarization damping force.

18

In practice, it is read out on some AC bridges as an alternative to reading out the

resistive property of a lossy capacitor.

186

Revision questions

Question 1. How do we calculate the electric ﬁeld of a microscopic dipole mo-

ment?

Question 2. What are the surface and volume charge densities?

Question 3. Explain the advantage of introducing the concept of dielectric dis-

placement ﬁeld.

Question 4. How do we calculate the polarization vector of a dense dielectric?

Question 5. In real dielectrics, does the polarization vector follow the changes

of an external electric ﬁeld?

Question 6. How are losses in a dielectric represented in the permitivity of the

dielectric?

Question 7. What it meant by the loss tangent of a medium?

Tutorial problems

Problem 12.1 Capacitor with 2 diﬀerent dielectrics

Consider a capacitor in which there are two diﬀerent dielectrics

of thickness d

1

and d

2

having dielectric constants ε

1

and ε

2

. The

separation of the plates is then d

1

+d

2

.

(a) Calculate the polarization charge distributions everywhere.

Show that at the junction of the two dielectrics there is a surface

charge density:

σ

s

=

ε

1

−ε

2

ε

1

ε

2

σ .

(b) Show that the capacity of the capacitor, if the area of the

187

plates is A, is:

C =

ε

1

ε

2

ε

0

A

ε

2

d

1

+ε

1

d

2

.

Problem 12.2 Capacitor ﬁlled with an inhomogeneous dielectric

A parallel plate capacitor has charges +σ and −σ per unit area

on its plates which are separated by a distance d. The volume be-

tween the plates is ﬁlled with an inhomogeneous dielectric. The

dielectric susceptibility is zero at the positively charged plate and

increases linearly with distance, reaching its maximum value of

unity at the negatively charged plate.

If x is the coordinate measured from the positive plate toward

the negative plate and α is the gradient of dielectric susceptibil-

ity, i.e. χ = αx, show that:

(a) The electric ﬁeld through the dielectric varies like:

E =

σ

ε

0

(1 +αx)

0 ≤ x ≤ d .

(b) There is a volume charge distribution throughout the dielec-

tric given by:

ρ = −

ασ

(1 +αx)

2

,

together with a surface charge distribution on the dielectric adja-

cent to the negative plate given by:

σ

1

=

σ

2

.

(c) The capacitance of the capacitor is:

C =

ε

0

αA

ln 2

.

Hint :

You can see there will be a volume charge distribution within the

dielectric because:

ρ = −∇

P = −∇ (χε

0

E) = 0 , because χ = αx .

188

Also since this is the only charge in the region the polarization

charge density ρ also satisﬁes the general Maxwell equation:

∇

E =

ρ

ε

0

.

From these two equations you can develope a diﬀerential equation

describing the variation of the electric ﬁeld across the capacitor.

Notice that it is ε

0

we use in the equations (not ε) because we are

treating the polarization charges explicitly.

After solving for the electric ﬁeld E(x) one can calculate the

charge distribution from:

ρ = −∇

P = −∇ (χε

0

E) .

Problem 12.3 Equivalent circuit of a lossy capacitor

So-called electrolytic capacitors are made by electrolytic deposit

of a thin layer of dielectric on aluminium. Consider a 1000 µF

capacitor that might be used in smoothing the ripple in a DC

voltage supply generated by rectifying the mains (50 Hz) supply.

The dielectric has a complex dielectric constant:

ε

r

= 1 +χ

−iχ

= 5 −i 10

−4

and a conductivity of σ = 2 10

−13

[mho m

−1

].

What is the equivalent parallel resistance of the capacitor at fre-

quency 50 Hz? and at 1 kHz?

Problem 12.4 Field at the centre of a uniformly polarized sphere

Consider a dielectric sphere with uniform polarization

P through-

out. The equivalent polarization charges will be a volume charge

density −∇

P which will be zero because of the uniform charac-

ter of

P together with a surface charge density

P ˆ n. Show then

that the polarization charges will give rise to an electric ﬁeld at

the centre of the sphere given by:

E = −

1

3

P

ε

0

.

189

13 Electromagnetic Theory of Magnetizable

Materials

In ﬁrst lecture on electromagnetic theory of polarizable materials, we have

discussed how the polarization of dielectrics by an externally applied electric

ﬁeld is equivalent to creation of volume and surface distributions of charges.

Analogously, a magnetic ﬁeld can act on molecular scale current loops exist-

ing in the building blocks of materials, atoms, to produce macroscopic eﬀects.

It was Amp` ere who ﬁrst suggested that the magnetism of matter was due to

the cooperative eﬀects of currents circulating in atoms and not, as previously

thought, due to a separate magnetic charge called poles. Thus, the magnetic

properties of materials can be considered from an atomic viewpoint of elec-

tron’s currents, in which case a fundamental understanding of sources of the

magnetic ﬁeld can be developed.

13.1 Magnetic Polarization Currents

Let us illustrate the microscopic (atomic) theory of magetism from which we

will then formulate the macroscopic theory.

Figure 48: A schematic diagram of

a current loop created by orbiting elec-

tron.

According to the atomic theory, the elec-

trons rotating in orbital paths are equiva-

lent to circulating currents on an atomic

scale. We can deﬁne the magnetic mo-

ment of an electron current loop as

µ = IAˆ n ,

which is equal to the product of the area

of the plane loop closed by the electron’s

orbit and the magnitude of the circulat-

ing current. The vector direction ˆ n of the

moment is perpendicular to the plane of

the loop and along the direction set by the right-hand rule, as shown in

the Figure 48.

190

A macroscopic material body contains a lot of current loops, so we can de-

ﬁne a macroscopic dipole moment per unit volume of the material, called

magnetization

M =

¸

i

µ

i

.

The theory of magnetism is based on the above deﬁnition of magnetization,

and is formulated by a simple theorem:

Theorem: If a volume V enclosed by surface S has a magnetic dipole mo-

ment per unit volume

M, which may be a function of position,

the macroscopic magnetic ﬁelds so produced are equivalent to

those of:

• A volume current density

J

V

= ∇

M.

• A surface current density

J

S

=

M ˆ n.

Proof of the Theorem:

The theorem is proved by showing that the vector potential due to the dipole

distribution in a volume V closed by a surface S can be written in the form

A =

1

4πε

0

c

2

V

∇

M

R

dV +

1

4πε

0

c

2

S

M ˆ n

R

dS ,

where R is a distance from the centre of the volume dV closed by a surface S.

Figure 49: A geometry for the cal-

culations of the vector potential pro-

duced at point X by a current loop

of radius a.

Consider a current loop of radius a, as shown

in Figure 49. We will ﬁnd the vector po-

tential produced by the current loop at the

point X.

We start from the solution of the Maxwell’s

equations, which gives the (static) vector

potential of a current loop

A =

1

4πε

0

c

2

J

r

dV =

I

4πε

0

c

2

dl

r

. (70)

Due to the radial symmetry of the loop, it

is convenient to work in the polar spherical

191

coordinates, in which the current element

dl

can be written as

dl = adφ

ˆ

φ = −a sin φ dφ

ˆ

i + a cos φ dφ

ˆ

j ,

and the distance from dl to X is given by

r =

(x −a cos φ)

2

+ (y −a sin φ)

2

+ z

2

1/2

,

which for a <R can be written as

r =

x

2

+ y

2

+ z

2

−2ax cos φ + a

2

−2ay sin φ

1/2

≈

R

2

−2ax cos φ −2ay sin φ

1/2

≈ R

1 −

ax cos φ

R

2

−

ay sin φ

R

2

.

Hence

r

−1

= R

−1

1 +

ax cos φ

R

2

+

ay sin φ

R

2

,

where we have used the Taylor expansion of 1/(1 −x) = 1 + x + . . ..

Thus, the vector potential (70) takes the form

A =

I

4πε

0

c

2

R

2π

0

1 +

ax cos φ

R

2

+

ay sin φ

R

2

−a sin φ dφ

ˆ

i + a cos φ dφ

ˆ

j

.

Since

2π

0

sin φ dφ =

2π

0

cos φ dφ =

2π

0

sin φcos φ dφ = 0 ,

the formula for

A simpliﬁes to

A =

I

4πε

0

c

2

R

3

2π

0

−a

2

y sin

2

φ

ˆ

i + a

2

x cos

2

φ

ˆ

j

dφ ,

which can be written as

A =

Ia

2

4πε

0

c

2

R

3

¸

−y

ˆ

i

2π

0

sin

2

φ dφ + x

ˆ

j

2π

0

cos

2

φ dφ

.

192

Next, since

2π

0

sin

2

φ dφ =

2π

0

cos

2

φ dφ = π ,

we obtain

A =

Ia

2

π

4πε

0

c

2

R

3

−y

ˆ

i + x

ˆ

j

. (71)

Using the relation

ˆ

k

ˆ

R =

ˆ

k

x

R

ˆ

i +

y

R

ˆ

j +

z

R

ˆ

k

=

x

R

ˆ

j −

y

R

ˆ

i ,

we can write Eq. (71) as

A =

Ia

2

π

4πε

0

c

2

R

2

ˆ

k

ˆ

R =

µ

4πε

0

c

2

ˆ

k

ˆ

R

R

2

= −

1

4πε

0

c

2

µ ∇

1

R

,

where we have used the result

ˆ

R

R

2

= −∇

1

R

,

and the fact that µ is in the direction normal to the loop, i.e. in the z direc-

tion.

Summarizing what we have obtained so far: We have obtained a formula for

the vector potential produced by a single magnetic dipole moment µ.

Figure 50:

If we consider a set of dipole moments

and change, for a convenience, the direc-

tion of

ˆ

R into −

ˆ

R, as shown in Figure 50,

we can write that the vector potential d

A

produced by a set of dipole moments con-

tained in a volume element dV is

d

A =

1

4πε

0

c

2

M ∇

1

R

dV ,

193

where

M is the magnetic dipole moment

per unit volume.

Then, the vector potential produced by

the dipole moments contained in the total volume V is given by

A =

1

4πε

0

c

2

M ∇

1

R

dV .

Using a vector identity

∇(Φ

A) = ∇Φ

A + Φ∇

A ,

we can write the integral function as

M ∇

1

R

= −∇

1

R

M =

∇

M

R

−∇

M

R

,

and then the vector potential takes the form

A =

1

4πε

0

c

2

∇

M

R

dV −

1

4πε

0

c

2

∇

M

R

dV . (72)

The ﬁrst term is in the form easy to interpret. Refering to the deﬁnition of

the vector potential, Eq. (53), we see that ∇

M can be interpreted as the

volume current density. Thus, the ﬁrst term represents the vector potential

produced by the volume currents existing inside the material.

We still have to do something with the second term as it is in an unfamiliar

form.

In order to transform the second term into a familiar form, we apply a the-

orem that:

19

−

V

∇

M

R

dV =

S

M ˆ n

R

dS . (73)

Thus, the application of the theorem to the second term in Eq. (72) leads to

the vector potential of the form

A =

1

4πε

0

c

2

V

∇

M

R

dV +

1

4πε

0

c

2

S

M ˆ n

R

dS ,

19

Proof of the theorem is given in Appendix B.

194

or

A =

1

4πε

0

c

2

V

J

V

R

dV +

1

4πε

0

c

2

S

J

S

R

dS .

We see by refering to the deﬁnition of the vector potential that the eﬀective

(Ampere) currents associated with a macroscopic dipole moment

M per unit

volume are:

(i) A current density

J

V

= ∇

M throughout the volume.

(ii) A surface currents

J

S

=

M ˆ n.

Figure 51 illustrates the source of the macroscopic surface current.

Figure 51: Source of the macroscopic surface current.

13.2 The Magnetic Intensity Vector

H

When we were dealing with dielectric materials in the presence of electric

ﬁelds, it was convenient to introduce a new vector, the displacement vector

**D, in order to eliminate the necessity of taking the electric dipole polariza-
**

tion

P of the material into account explicitly.

A similar procedure is used for the magnetic materials, where a new magnetic

intensity vector

H is introduced to eliminate the magnetization

M. We will

195

illustrate this idea for both static and time-varying ﬁelds.

13.2.1 Static Magnetic Fields

For a static current distribution, the Maxwell’s equation IV reduces to

∇

B = µ

0

J .

In a medium where there are magnetic polarization currents as well as con-

duction currents we can write

J =

J

c

+

J

m

,

where

J

c

is the conducting current, and

J

m

is the magnetization current.

Thus

J =

J

c

+∇

M ,

and then

∇

B = µ

0

(

J

c

+∇

M) .

This equation can be written as

∇(

B −µ

0

M) = µ

0

J

c

,

or in the form

∇

¸

B

µ

0

−

M

¸

=

J

c

.

This shows that the vector

B/µ

0

−

M has as its source only the conduction

current

J

c

. Therefore, to eliminate the necessity of dealing directly with the

magnetization current

J

m

, we can deﬁne a new vector

H =

B

µ

0

−

M ,

which is called the magnetic (ﬁeld) intensity vector.

196

In terms of

H, the Maxwell’s equation IV for static ﬁelds in magnetic mate-

rials takes the form

∇

H =

J

c

.

In dealing with magnetic materials we often know

J

c

but not

M (well not

directly anyway.) Think e.g. of an inductor ﬁlled with some magnetizable

material like iron. Then

H becomes useful. It is a way of avoiding a detailed

calculation of the polarization currents. The magnetic intensity

H is the

magnetic analogue of the dielectric displacement

D in the electric case. We

may drop the subscript c and write

∇

H =

J ,

but we should remember that

J is now not the total electric current density

everywhere.

In summary: The use of the vector

H enables us to write the Maxwell’s

equation IV in terms of only the conducting current density in any magnetic

material. There is no need to deal with the magnetization

M.

13.3 Linear Magnetic Materials

For most materials (excluding ferromagnetics) the magnetization

M is lin-

early proportional to the applied external ﬁeld

B, and then because of the

linear relation

H =

B

µ

0

−

M ,

the magnetization is also proportional to

H. Thus, for linear magnetic ma-

terials we write

M = χ

m

H ,

and then at any point the vectors

B,

M, and

H will be in the same direction,

and we get the following relation between

B and

H

B = µ

0

H + µ

0

M = µ

0

(1 + χ

m

)

H = µ

0

µ

r

H = µ

H .

197

The parameter µ

r

= (1 + χ

m

) is called the relative permeability, χ

m

is the

magnetic susceptibility, and µ = µ

0

(1+χ

m

) is called the magnetic permeabil-

ity.

Since

B = µ

0

(

H +

M) ,

and we have deﬁned

M such that

µ

0

M = µ

0

χ

m

H =

µ

0

χ

m

B

µ

=

χ

m

B

1 + χ

m

,

we get

H =

B

µ

0

(1 + χ

m

)

.

Thus, if we know the material we use, we can ﬁnd

H.

Example: A solenoid ﬁlled with magnetizable material

In this example, we illustrate some interesting properties and re-

lations between magnetic ﬁeld vectors produced by a solenoid ﬁlled

with a magnetizable material. We will show how the ﬁeld

B is mod-

iﬁed due to the presence of the material and what is the source of

the

H vector.

Consider the expression for the magnetic ﬁeld produced by a long

solenoid

B = µ

0

NI .

In the presence of the material, we should include the Ampere surface

currents as well as the conduction currents in the wire. Since

B = µ

0

I

,

where I

**is the total current per unit length, we have
**

B = µ

0

(NI +M) = µ

0

(NI +χ

m

H) = µ

0

NI +

χ

m

B

µ

,

198

which can be written as

B

1 −

µ

0

χ

m

µ

= µ

0

NI ,

or

B =

µ

0

NI

1 −

µ

0

χm

µ

=

µ

0

NI

1 −

χm

1+χm

.

Note that if χ

m

is positive then B is greater than it would have

been in the absence of the magnetizable material. Evidently in this

case the macroscopic Ampere current is in the same sense as the

conduction current in the solenoid.

Since

1 −

χ

m

1 +χ

m

=

1

1 +χ

m

=

1

µ

r

,

we have for the magnetic ﬁeld

B = µ

r

µ

0

NI = µNI . (74)

Thus, the introduction of a magnetizable material into the solenoid

is equivalent to replace µ

0

by µ.

We may go further and consider the following question: What is the

source of the

H vector?

It is easy to answer this question. Since

B = µH ,

we then have from Eq. (74) that

H = NI .

Thus,

H depends only on the parameters of the solenoid.

We see that the eﬀect of ﬁlling the solenoid with a material of rela-

tive permeability µ

r

is to multiply B by a factor µ

r

(assuming the

current in the wire remains the same).

Example:

To illustrate further that

H depends only on the parameters of

the solenoid, consider an another example which shows that in a

solenoid, the magnetic intensity H is independent of the presence

199

or absence of the magnetic material.

As in the preceding example, we consider a solenoid ﬁlled with

a magnetic material. By the deﬁnition

H =

B

µ

0

−M .

When we remove the magnetic material, M = 0, and then

H =

B

µ

0

=

µ

0

NI

µ

0

= NI .

With the material present

H =

B

µ

0

−M =

µNI

µ

0

−χ

m

H = µ

r

NI −χ

m

H .

Hence

H = (1 +χ

m

)NI −χ

m

H ,

which can be written as

H(1 +χ

m

) = (1 +χ

m

)NI .

Thus

H = NI ,

as before.

This gives rise to the notion of H as an inducing ﬁeld and B as a resultant

ﬁeld. This concept is much used in the study of magnetic properties of ma-

terials. The reason is that

H is the ﬁeld introduced to hide the properties of

the material. Thus,

H is the same independent of the presence or absence of

the material.

13.4 Non-Linear Magnetic Materials

There are materials, i.e. iron, whose the magnetic properties are not de-

scribed by the linear formula

B = µ

**H. They are called ferromagnetic mate-
**

rials and have a speciﬁc property that placed in an external magnetic ﬁeld

200

their magnetization undergoes a saturation. This is because all the internal

current loops are lined up, which breaks the linear property. The reason for

this unusual behavior is that ferromagnetic materials do not have a unique

value of magnetic susceptibility because of strong magnetic nonlinearities.

For this reason, it is diﬃcult to provide a relation between

B and

H, and

it is usually presented graphically in terms of the so-called hysteresis. An

example of the hysteresis is shown in Figure 52.

Figure 52: Hysteresis loop of a ferromagnetic material.

13.4.1 Work done in magnetization of iron

Think of the case of the solenoid of length , cross-section area A, and ﬁlled

with magnetic material. The applied voltage V is:

V = −c =

dΨ

dt

= N

d

dt

BA ,

where N is the number of turns.

The rate of doing work to power the solenoid is

P = V I = ANI

dB

dt

= 1 H

dB

dt

,

where 1 = Al is the volume of the solenoid.

201

In the time dt that it takes to change B by dB, then the work done is

dW = Pdt = 1 H dB. Thus, the work done per unit volume is

dW = H dB .

Hence, the work done per unit volume in one cycle of the hysteresis loop of

a non-linear material is given by the area of the loop.

Figure 53: An example of hysteresis loops of a ’hard’ (iron) and a ’soft’ (ferrite) fer-

romagnetic materials. Hard ferromagnetics retain some magnetization in the absence of

external ﬁelds. This property of hard ferromagnetics makes them useful for permanent

magnets.

It is sometimes useful to write

H dB = µ

0

H d(H + M) = µ

0

H dH + µ

0

H dM

=

1

2

µ

0

H

2

+ µ

0

H dM ,

where the ﬁrst term on the rhs is the work to establish magnetic ﬁeld, and

the second terms is the work by the ﬁeld H to establish magnetization dM.

Which part really uses the energy:

1

2

µ

0

H

2

or µ

0

H dM ? To check it, con-

sider properties of magnetic materials in a time varying magnetic ﬁeld.

13.5 Permanent Magnetic Materials: Ferromagnets

We have so far considered magnetic materials that are called diamagnetics

and paramagnetics. In these materials the magnetization exists only in the

202

presence of an external magnetic ﬁeld, i.e.

M is a function of the external

ﬁeld, (

M ∼

B). However, there is a class of materials, called ferromagnetics

or permanent magnets in which macroscopic magnetization exists even in the

absence of the external ﬁeld.

Consider ﬁrst an exercise, which will illustarte several points that are of in-

terest in designing of ferromagnetic materials.

Exercise in class. Magnetic ﬁeld of a solenoid

Consider a cylindrical current sheet on the surface of a cylinder of radius a,

called a solenoid. The lines of current ﬂow are circles round the surface of

the cylinder.

Figure 54: Amp` ere’s loop to calcu-

late magnetic ﬁeld inside and outside a

solenoid.

As in the case of the plane sheet we

measure the strength of the current

by a current per unit length with the

length measured along the surface of

the cylinder parallel to the axis and

at right angles to the direction of cur-

rent ﬂow.

(a) Assuming the magnetic ﬁeld within

the cylinder is uniform and parallel to the

axis and that the magnetic ﬁeld is zero

outside the cylinder show that within the

cylinder the ﬁeld is

B = µ

0

¯

I where

¯

I is

the current per unit length.

(b) Can you think of the arguments from Amp` ere’s theorem for the ﬁeld

being uniform within the cylinder and zero outside?

13.5.1

B and

H ﬁelds of a ferromagnet

We can now easily extend the arguments from the above exercise to analyse

the magnetic ﬁeld a long homogeneous ferromagnetic material. In this case

B

203

inside the material is due solely to the

M:

J

s

=

M ˆ n ,

or in terms of the magnitudes J

s

= M.

Let us ﬁnd

B and

H inside and outside the material.

Using Amp` ere’s law

B d

= µ

0

I, where I = J

s

= M, we obtain

B = µ

0

M i.e. B = µ

0

M ,

where we have used the fact that B is zero outside the magnet.

Thus

H =

B

µ

0

−M =

µ

0

M

µ

0

−M = 0 ,

in the region where M = 0, i.e. inside the magnet.

Outside the magnet

H =

B

µ

0

−0 =

B

µ

0

,

i.e.

H is just a scaled replica of

B.

204

13.5.2 Magnetic Poles

Since ∇

B = 0 always and the lines of

B form closed loops, we have

∇

H = ∇

¸

B

µ

0

−

M

¸

= −∇

M .

Thus,

H has a source (ﬁeld lines start and stop) where

M varies i.e. at the

ends of the magnet (magnetic poles).

For a ferromagnet, we can write

∇

H = −∇

M = ρ

m

.

Thus, we can think of ρ

m

as a volume density of ‘magnetic charge’ giving

rise to the

H ﬁeld. It must be stressed that this equivalence is purely math-

ematical, and does not prove a physical existence of magnetic charges.

Moreover, for the ferromagnet

∇

H =

J

c

= 0 .

Note the similar mathematical properties of

H here to those of the

E ﬁeld

in electrostatics

∇

E =

ρ

ε

0

and ∇

E = 0 .

Historically, magnetostatics of permanently magnetized materials (ferromag-

nets) developed via use of the

H ﬁeld and ’magnetic charges’ or ’poles’. One

obtains a law analogous to Coulomb’s Law for the force between magnetic

poles.

205

Exercise in class: Plane magnetized material

An inﬁnite plane surface divides the universe into a vac-

uum on one side and a magnetic material on the other.

Within the magnetic material there exists a uniform

magnetic moment per unit volume

M which is parallel

to the surface.

(a) Show that while the direction of the magnetic in-

duction vector

B is diﬀerent on the two sides of the

surface, its magnitude is given everywhere by:

B =

M

2ε

0

c

2

.

(b) Find the magnitude and direction of the magnetic

ﬁeld

B everywhere due to an inﬁnite plane parallel slab

of material of thickness d which is permanently uni-

formly magnetized with dipole moment per unit vol-

ume

M lying parallel to the bounding surfaces.

(c) Find the magnetic intensity

H everywhere.

206

13.6 Time Dependent Magnetic Fields and Energy Loss

In a time-dependent magnetic ﬁeld the magnetization

M may not stay in

phase with the driving ﬁeld

H. This corresponds to internal friction and

heat dissipation.

Let

H = H

0

cos(ωt) .

Then the magnetisation in a lossy material varies as

M = M

0

cos(ωt + φ) ,

where M

0

and φ represent the amplitude and phase of the magnetization

response to the magnetizing ﬁeld. Thus

M = M

0

cos φcos(ωt) −M

0

sin φsin(ωt) .

Now the work done in magnetization per cycle of the AC current producing

the magnetizing ﬁeld is

W = µ

0

H dM = µ

0

2π/ω

t=0

H

dM

dt

dt .

Since

dM

dt

= −ωM

0

cos φ sin(ωt) −ωM

0

sin φ cos(ωt) ,

we have W = W

1

+ W

2

. Consider the term W

1

:

W

1

= −µ

0

H

0

M

0

ω cos φ

2π/ω

t=0

cos(ωt) sin(ωt) dt .

This term is zero - it represents reversible energy conversion to and from H.

Consider now the term W

2

:

W

2

= −µ

0

H

0

M

0

ω sin φ

2π/ω

0

cos

2

(ωt) dt .

207

This term represents work done against internal friction during magnetizing

and demagnetizing the material.

Since

cos

2

(ωt) dt is positive, sin φ must be negative so that work is done on

the material i.e. φ is negative.

13.7 The complex magnetic susceptibility

Let

H = H

0

e

iωt

,

which for a physical ﬁeld can be written as

H = H

0

cos(ωt) = Re

H

0

e

iωt

.

Then

M = M

0

e

i(ωt−φ)

= M

0

e

−iφ

e

iωt

or

M = (M

0

cos φ −iM

0

sin φ)e

iωt

=

M

0

H

0

cos φ −i

M

0

H

0

sin φ

H

0

e

iωt

.

This result can be written in terms of real and imaginary susceptibility

M = (χ

−iχ

)H

0

e

iωt

= (χ

−iχ

)H .

Using this complex number notation, we ﬁnd

B = µ

0

(H + M) = µ

0

H + µ

0

(χ

−iχ

)H

= [µ

0

(1 + χ

) −iµ

0

χ

]H

and then

B = (µ

−iµ

)H = µH ,

where µ

= µ

0

(1 + χ

), µ

= µ

0

χ

**, and µ is the complex permeability.
**

208

13.8 Maxwell’s Equations in Dielectric and Magnetic

Materials

Let us complete the lectures on dielectric and magnetic properties of mate-

rials by incorporating our ﬁndings into the Maxwell’s equations, to see how

the basic equations of electromagnetism are modiﬁed in the presence of the

material.

The Maxwell equation IV contains a current density term

∇

B = µ

0

J + µ

0

ε

0

∂

E

∂t

.

We think this is always true provided

J is the total electric current den-

sity. Applying this in a region where there may be electric and magnetic

polarization eﬀects we can write the current density as

J =

J

c

+

J

E

+

J

M

=

J +

∂

P

∂t

+∇

M .

Thus, the Maxwell’s equation IV takes the form

∇

B = µ

0

J

c

+ µ

0

∂

P

∂t

+ µ

0

∇

M + µ

0

ε

0

∂

E

∂t

,

which can be written as

∇

¸

B

µ

0

−

M

¸

=

J

c

+

∂

∂t

(ε

0

E +

P) .

With the introduction of the new vectorial ﬁelds

D and

H, this equation

takes the form

∇

H =

J +

∂

D

∂t

,

where we must remember that

J represents the conduction current only.

209

In summary: The Maxwell’s equations for the electromagnetic ﬁeld prop-

agating in a material are of the following form

∇

D = ρ ,

∇

B = ∇

H = 0 ,

∇

E = −µ

∂

H

∂t

,

∇

H =

J +

∂

D

∂t

,

but in general

∇

H = −∇

M .

These equations are supplemented by appropriate constitutive relations, which

connect the electric ﬁeld

E and the magnetic induction

B with the displace-

ment ﬁeld

D and the magnetic ﬁeld

H

D = ε

E and

B = µ

H .

These relations carry information about the material.

Revision questions

Question 1. State the deﬁnition of magnetization.

Question 2. How do we deﬁne a volume current density and a surface current

density?

Question 3. Explain why it is useful to use the

H instead of

B for a magnetic

ﬁeld in a magnetic material.

Question 4. What is the form of the Maxwell’s equation IV for static ﬁelds in

magnetic materials?

210

Question 5. What it is a hysteresis loop, and what does it correspond to?

Question 6. What is meant by a homogeneous and isotropic material?

Question 7. How do we distinguish between soft and hard ferromagnetics?

Question 8. What are the modiﬁcations to the Maxwell’s equations of an elec-

tromagnetic ﬁeld propagating in a material?

211

Tutorial problems

Problem 13.1 Field of a uniformly magnetized sphere

A magnetized sphere has a uniform dipole moment

M per unit

volume.

(a) Find and sketch a diagram of the magnetic polarization cur-

rents in and on the sphere.

(b) Apply the Biot-Savart law to this current distribution to ﬁnd

the magnetic ﬂux density

B at the centre of the sphere. Show

that:

B =

2

M

3ε

0

c

2

.

Problem 13.2 Fields in an inhomogeneous magnetic material

A long solenoid of radius a and having N turns per metre car-

ries current I. It is ﬁlled with an inhomogeneous material with a

gradient in magnetic susceptibility. The susceptibility is zero at

the centre and increases linearly with radial distance r from the

centre of the solenoid, attaining a value of 2 at r = a.

(a) Find the vectors

B,

M,

H throughout the solenoid.

(Hint: Study

H ﬁrst by integrating the Maxwell equation

∇

H =

J ,

and use the symmetries of the situation. Show that

H is un-

changed by the presence of the magnetizable material).

(b) Show that the self-inductance of the solenoid is the same

as would be obtained by replacing the above-mentioned magnatic

material with a homogeneous material having a magnetic suscep-

tibility of

4

3

.

(c) What are the magnetic polarization currents on the surface

and within the solenoid? Calculate them in terms of I.

212

Problem 13.3 Fields in a dense magnetic material

Using a method similar to that used in the case of electric ﬁelds

within dense dielectrics, show that if a spherical cavity is exca-

vated in a uniformly magnetized material, the magnetic ﬁeld

B

and the magnetic intensity

H in the hole and in the material are

related by

B

hole

=

B

material

−

2

M

3ε

0

c

2

,

H

hole

=

H

material

+

M

3

.

213

14 Poynting’s Theorem Revisited

We have seen in Chapter 8 how energy of the electromagnetic ﬁeld may

be transported through vacuum (empty space) by means of electromagnetic

waves. We have shown that the direction of propagation of energy is de-

termined by the Poynting vector. In this lecture, we will reconsider the

Poynting theorem taking into account propagation of the electromagnetic

ﬁeld in magnetizable materials. A question we will try to answer: How the

energy is propagated inside a magnetizable material?

14.1 Poynting Vector in Terms of

E and

H

We have shown that it is useful to represent the magnetic ﬁeld in terms of

H

vector rather then

B vector when the ﬁeld propagates inside a magnetizable

material.

Using the concept of the

H vector for the ﬁeld in vacuum

H =

B

µ

0

= ε

0

c

2

B ,

the Poynting vector of the EM ﬁeld in vacuum takes the form

N = ε

0

c

2

E

B =

E

H .

The cross product

E

H also turns out to be the correct expression for the

Poynting vector when magnetizable materials are involved and is the expres-

sion most commonly quoted for it.

In order to show this, we consider, as before in Section 8, a ﬂow of the energy

through a closed surface S. Using the Gauss’s theorem and a vector identity

∇ (

A

B) =

B (∇

A) −

A (∇

B) ,

we can write

S

(

E

H) d

S =

V

∇ (

E

H) dV

=

V

H (∇

E) dV −

V

E (∇

H) dV .

214

Now, substitute from the Maxwell equations

∇

E = −

∂

∂t

B ,

∇

H =

J +

∂

∂t

D ,

and obtain

S

(

E

H) d

S = −

V

H

∂

B

∂t

dV −

V

E

∂

D

∂t

dV −

V

E

J dV .

The individual terms in this equation have the following interpre-

tation:

1. The lhs is the rate of ﬂow of ﬁeld energy out of the volume V enclosed

by the surface S.

2. First term on the rhs is the rate of work in establishing the magnetic

ﬁeld in V .

3. Second term is the rate of doing work in establishing the electric ﬁeld

in V .

4. Third term is the rate of doing work on the currents in V .

We go further with the Poynting’s Theorem.

If we substitute for

B = µ

H, we then get

H

∂

B

∂t

dV =

∂

∂t

1

2

µH

2

dV =

∂

∂t

1

2

B

2

µ

dV ,

and

E

∂

D

∂t

dV =

∂

∂t

1

2

εE

2

dV =

∂

∂t

1

2

εE

2

dV .

Hence

S

(

E

H) d

S = −

∂

∂t

1

2

εE

2

+

1

2

B

2

µ

dV −

E

J dV .

215

Thus, the rate of ﬂow of ﬁeld energy out of volume V is equal to the rate of

changing energy of the EM ﬁeld plus the arte of doing work on the currents

in V .

14.2 Poynting Vector for Complex Sinusoidal Fields

It is well known that the electromagnetic ﬁeld (e.g. light) is a real physical

quantity (observable). However, in the electromagnetic theory it is advanta-

geous to represent the real electromagnetic ﬁeld by complex sinusoidal quan-

tities because of its mathematical simplicity. In addition, what we usually

measure is the average intensity of the ﬁeld, '

E

∗

**E`, which is a real quantity.
**

For time varying ﬁelds, we usually write

E =

E

0

e

iωt

and

H =

H

0

e

iωt

,

where

E

0

and

H

0

are complex quantities including both amplitude and phase

information. We understand that the electric and magnetic ﬁelds are given

by the REAL PARTS of

E and

H.

The power of the complex exponential scheme lies in the fact that for oper-

ations such as summation, subtraction, integration etc., we take real parts

AFTER the operation. For example:

Re

E

1

+ Re

E

2

= Re

E

1

+

E

2

,

Re

d

E

1

dt

+ Re

d

E

2

dt

= Re

d

dt

E

1

+

E

2

.

However, some care has to be taken in evaluating the Poynting vector.

The Poynting vector is given by

N =

E

H, but if we write complex expo-

nential expressions for

E

H, we note that

N = Re

E

c

Re

H

c

= Re

E

c

H

c

,

where we put a subscript c to indicate that we are writing the ﬁelds using

complex exponentials.

Proof:

216

We can write the complex electric ﬁeld as

E

c

=

E

0

e

iωt

=

E

r

+ i

E

i

(cos ωt + i sin ωt)

=

E

r

cos ωt −

E

i

sin ωt

+ i

E

r

sin ωt +

E

i

cos ωt

.

Similarly, for the magnetic ﬁeld we can write

H

c

=

H

0

e

iωt

=

H

r

+ i

H

i

(cos ωt + i sin ωt)

=

H

r

cos ωt −

H

i

sin ωt

+ i

H

r

sin ωt +

H

i

cos ωt

,

where

E

r

,

E

i

,

H

r

and

H

i

are real vectors.

However, from the above, we see that

Re

E

c

=

E

r

cos ωt −

E

i

sin ωt ,

Re

H

c

=

H

r

cos ωt −

H

i

sin ωt .

Clearly, if we calculate Re(

E

c

H

c

) we get extra terms in addition to those

in the expression for Re

E

c

Re

H

c

, and then

Re

E

c

Re

H

c

= Re(

E

c

H

c

) ,

as required.

In experiments, we do not measure

N, but rather

¯

**N, the mean Poynting
**

vector averaged over the cycles of oscillations.

There is a useful expression for the MEAN POYNTING VECTOR in

terms of the complex exponential

E

c

and

H

c

:

¯

N =

1

2

Re

E

c

H

∗

c

=

1

2

Re

E

∗

c

H

c

=

¯

Re

E

c

Re

H

c

,

where the bar over

N indicates an average over the whole cycle of the sinu-

soidal ﬁeld to eliminate the rapid temporal oscillations at frequency ω.

Proof:

217

Calculate the Poynting vector involving measurable (real) parts of the com-

plex ﬁelds

N = Re

E

c

Re

H

c

=

E

r

cos ωt −

E

i

sin ωt

H

r

cos ωt −

H

i

sin ωt

=

E

r

H

r

cos

2

ωt +

E

i

H

i

sin

2

ωt −(

E

r

H

i

+

E

i

H

r

) cos ωt sin ωt .

Since

1

T

T

0

cos

2

ωt dt =

1

T

T

0

sin

2

ωt dt =

1

2

,

and

1

T

T

0

cos ωt sin ωt dt = 0 ,

we obtain for the average Poynting vector

¯

N =

1

2

(

E

r

H

r

+

E

i

H

i

) .

On the other hand, take

H

∗

c

=

H

r

−i

H

i

e

−iωt

,

E

c

=

E

r

+ i

E

i

e

iωt

,

and then

(

E

c

H

∗

c

) = (

E

r

H

r

+

E

i

H

i

) + i(

E

i

H

r

−

E

r

H

i

) .

Hence

1

2

Re

E

c

H

∗

c

=

1

2

(

E

r

H

r

+

E

i

H

i

) ,

which is equal to

¯

N, as required.

In summary: The average Poynting vector

N of complex exponential ﬁelds

satisﬁes the relation

¯

N =

¯

Re

E

c

Re

H

c

=

1

2

Re

E

c

H

∗

c

,

and this is the expression for calculation of the Poynting vector of complex

ﬁelds.

218

Revision questions

Question 1. What is the form of the Poynting vector in terms of the

E and

H

vectors?

Question 2. How do we write the electric and magnetic ﬁeld vectors for oscillat-

ing ﬁelds?

Question 3. What is the useful form of the Poynting vector for complex sinusoidal

ﬁelds?

219

15 Plane Wave Propagation in Dielectric and

Magnetic Media

In this lecture, we shall examine in some details how existing radiation ﬁeld is

modiﬁed by the material it passes through. We will consider the propagation

in a linear and homogeneous material and as we shall see, the conductivity

is the most signiﬁcant parameter for modiﬁcations, rather than the dielectric

and magnetic constants.

We have learnt that the properties of a lossy linear and homogeneous dielec-

tric material can be described using a complex permittivity and similarly,

the properties of a lossy magnetic material are described by a complex per-

meability. Thus, for a lossy linear and homogeneous material the Maxwell’s

equations describing the EM ﬁeld inside the material are of the form

∇

E = ρ/ε ,

∇

H = 0 ,

∇

E = −µ

∂

H

∂t

,

∇

H =

J + ε

∂

E

∂t

, (75)

where ε, µ are complex quantities that characterize the material, ρ is a free

charge in the material, and

J is conduction current only, i.e.

J = σ

E.

Note from Eq. (75) that an EM ﬁeld propagating in a linear and homoge-

neous material is solely described by the

E and

H ﬁelds, and its properties

depend only on the material constants ε and µ. Thus, the only factors that

can modify the wave from that propagating in vacuum are the constants ε

and µ.

We remember that in the vacuum the EM ﬁeld propagates in the form of

plane transverse waves. Questions we will try to answer are: What are the

properties of the EM waves propagating inside a material? Does an EM wave

retain its transverse nature?

220

To answer these questions, consider a plane wave propagating in one dimen-

sion, the z direction

E =

E

0

e

i(ωt−kz)

. (76)

First, we shall ﬁnd

H to check whether the wave retaines its transverse prop-

erties when propagating through the lossy material. Thus, for the electric

ﬁeld (76), the Maxwell’s equation IV takes the form

∇

H = σ

E + iωε

E = (σ + iωε)

E .

Since for a plane wave propagating in the z direction the derivatives ∂/∂x

and ∂/∂y of

E and

H are zero, we obtain

ˆ

i

ˆ

j

ˆ

k

0 0

∂

∂z

H

x

H

y

H

z

= (σ + iωε)

E .

From the LHS, we see that

(∇

H)

z

= 0 → (σ + iωε)E

z

= 0 .

Hence E

z

= 0 unless (σ + iωε) = 0. Thus,

E ⊥

ˆ

k.

Since E

z

= 0, we have that ∇

E = 0. Also

∇

E = −µ

∂

H

∂t

can be used to show that

E ⊥

H.

In addition, we can ﬁnd from the above equation that H

z

= 0, which means

that

H ⊥

k.

We can summarize our thusfar ﬁndings that the wave propagating

in a lossy material retains its transverse nature.

However, the losses are expected to modify somehow the wave. What kind

of modiﬁcations are made by the losess?

221

Since ∇

E = 0, the quantity ε occurs only in the equation for ∇

H, and

it is common to proceed as follows:

∇

H =

J + ε

∂

E

∂t

= σ

E + iωε

E ,

∇

H = iω

σ

iω

+ ε

E = iω

ε −i

σ

ω

E .

Now

ε −i

σ

ω

= ε

−iε

−i

σ

ω

= ε

−i

ε

+

σ

ω

= ¯ ε ,

which gives

∇

H = iω¯ ε

E .

Physically what has been done is to lump together the conduction and the

lossy dielectric constant term. To an external observer they are inseparable.

Only using some theory of the internal structure of the dielectric, they can

be separated.

We can summarize that the electric and magnetic ﬁelds of the propagating

wave in a lossy conducting material satisfy the following equations

∇

E = 0 , (77)

∇

B = 0 , (78)

∇

E = −µ

∂

H

∂t

= −iωµ

H , (79)

∇

H = iωε

E , (80)

where we have left the bar oﬀ ε.

15.1 Dispersive Equation and Complex Propagation

Number

We now proceed to solve the propagation equations (77)–(80). We will see

that the fact that µ and ε are complex numbers, the solution leads to a dis-

persive equation.

222

Thus, we look for plane wave solutions, and will try to ﬁnd how the propa-

gation number k behaves.

The procedure is as follows: Taking ∇ of (79) and using (80), we obtain

∇(∇

E) = ω

2

µε

E ,

which, after applying the double vector identity, simpliﬁes to

−∇

2

E = ω

2

µε

E .

Since

E of the transverse EM wave is independent of x and y, we have

−

∂

2

E

∂z

2

= ω

2

µε

E .

On the other hand, the second derivative of

E, given in Eq. (76), is

∂

2

E

∂z

2

= − k

2

E .

Hence, we obtain a dispersion equation

k

2

= ω

2

µε .

This dispersion equation is not as simple as it looks. We cannot just say that

phase velocity is

v

p

=

ω

k

=

1

√

µε

,

as we usually do for EM waves propagating in vacuum, because ε and µ are

complex quantities and then k is a complex number.

What does an imaginary value of k mean?

To give the answer to this question, we write the complex number k as

k = α −iβ ,

where α and β are real. Then

E = E

0

e

i(ωt−kz)

= E

0

e

i(ωt−αz+iβz)

= E

0

e

−βz

e

i(ωt−αz)

.

223

Clearly from this, the phase velocity is

v

p

=

ω

α

,

i.e. the real part of k plays the role of the propagation number, and β =

− Im(k) is the attenuation (losses) coeﬃcient.

In practice, the losses come from (1) Conduction currents, (2) Lossy dielec-

tric, and (3) Lossy magnetic material, which are lumped together in ε and µ.

We can ﬁnd the explicit forms of α and β.

To do this, we write the complex number k as

k = ω (µε)

1

2

= ω

¸

ε

−i

ε

+

σ

ω

(µ

−iµ

)

1

2

,

which can be written as

k = ω

¸

ε

µ

−µ

ε

+

σ

ω

−i

¸

µ

ε

+

σ

ω

+ ε

µ

1

2

.

Let us introduce a short notation for the real and imaginary parts of k:

p = ε

µ

−µ

ε

+

σ

ω

,

q = µ

ε

+

σ

ω

+ ε

µ

.

Then

k = ω (p −iq)

1

2

,

which can be written as

k = ω

¸

p

2

+ q

2

1

2

e

−iarctan(q/p)

1

2

,

or

k = ω

p

2

+ q

2

1

4

e

−iθ

,

224

where θ =

1

2

arctan (q/p). Hence

α = Re(k) = ω

p

2

+ q

2

1

4

cos θ ,

β = −Im(k) = ω

p

2

+ q

2

1

4

sin θ ,

which in general are quite complicated and diﬃcult to interpret. The inter-

pretation becomes more transparent when we make some simpliﬁcations that

are discussed in the following two examples.

15.2 Wave Refraction and Attenuation

We now consider two examples of the propagation of an EM wave in diﬀerent

materials: Low loss dielectrics and conducting materials.

15.2.1 Propagation of an EM wave in a low loss dielectric

In the ﬁrst example, we illustrate the propagation of an EM wave in a low

loss dielectric with no magnetic eﬀects.

For dielectrics, σ is negligible and also we disregard magnetic properties.

Thus, for a low loss dielectric

ε

+

σ

ω

<ε

,

and

µ = µ

0

=

1

ε

0

c

2

.

Hence, the propagation number simpliﬁes to

k =

ω

√

ε

0

c

¸

ε

−i

ε

+

σ

ω

1

2

=

ω

√

ε

0

c

(ε

)

2

+

ε

+

σ

ω

2

1

2

e

−iΘ

¸

¸

1

2

,

225

where

Θ = arctan

ε

+

σ

ω

ε

≈

ε

+

σ

ω

ε

,

as the losses are small. Then

k =

ω

c

√

ε

√

ε

0

e

−iΘ/2

=

ω

c

ε

ε

0

e

−i

ε

+σ/ω

2ε

.

Hence, the real part of k takes the form

α =

ω

c

ε

ε

0

cos

ε

+ σ/ω

2ε

≈

ω

c

√

ε

√

ε

0

=

ω

c

√

ε

r

.

We can then ﬁnd phase velocity of the wave and refractive index of the

dielectric material

v

p

=

ω

α

= c

ε

0

ε

< c for ε

> ε

0

,

n =

c

v

p

=

ε

ε

0

=

√

ε

r

> 1 .

Thus, we may conclude that inside the dielectric, the EM wave

propagates with a phase velocity v

p

< c and can be refracted from

the original direction on the entry to the dielectric.

Similarly, we can ﬁnd β

β = −Im(k) =

ω

c

ε

ε

0

sin

ε

+ σ/ω

2ε

.

Since for small θ, sin θ ≈ θ, we get

β ≈

ω

c

ε

ε

0

ε

+ σ/ω

2ε

=

ω

c

ε

+ σ/ω

2

√

ε

ε

0

.

Thus, losses (absorption of the wave) are small.

226

We can summarize, that the theory predicts that the refractive index for a

lossless dielectric is given by

n =

√

ε

r

.

Table below compares theoretical values of n with that obtained experimen-

tally. An excellent agreement is observed, except for polar molecules. For

example, water has a refractive index of 1.33, whereas

√

ε

r

= 9. The reason

for this discrepancy lies, not in the inadequacy of the laws of electromag-

netism, but rather in the tacit assumption that the dielectric constant is a

constant independent of the frequency. The refractive index of the water

exhibits a strong dependence on ω as it is composed of polar molecules that

the polarization depends strongly on ω.

√

ε

r

n (experimental)

Air 1.00029 1.00029

Argon 1.00028 1.00028

CO

2

gas 1.00047 1.00045

Benzene 1.49 1.48

Ethanol 5.3 1.36

NaCl 2.47 1.54

Water 9.0 1.33

15.2.2 Propagation of an EM Wave in a Good Conductor

As a second example consider a propagation of the EM ﬁeld in a good con-

ductor with no dielectric and magnetic losses: ε

= µ

= 0.

Examples of good conductors: Cu, Ag.

Consider the Maxwell equation IV, which for an EM wave propagating in a

conducting material can be written as

∇

H =

J + ε

∂

E

∂t

= σ

E + iωε

E . (81)

227

Deﬁnition of a Good Conductor

Good conductor is when the conduction term on the right-hand

side of the Maxwell equation (81) dominates over the displace-

ment current, i.e. when σ ωε. On physical grounds, for a good

conductor the conductivity current is much larger than the polar-

ization current.

For example, for copper at ω = 1 MHz = 2π 10

6

rad

σ

ωε

0

=

5.8 10

7

2π 10

6

8.85 10

−12

= 1.0 10

12

.

Consider general expression for k:

k = ω

¸

ε

µ

−µ

ε

+

σ

ω

−i

¸

µ

ε

+

σ

ω

+ ε

µ

1

2

,

that for a conductor with no dielectric losess reduces to

k = ω

(ε

µ

−0) −i

µ

σ

ω

+ 0

1

2

,

and ﬁnally

k = ω

ε

µ

−iµ

σ

ω

1

2

.

Now we might as well drop the dashes on ε, µ understanding that they are

real quantities, and obtain

k = ω

εµ −iµ

σ

ω

1

2

= ω

√

εµ

1 −i

σ

εω

1

2

,

that can be written as

k = ω

√

εµ

¸

1 +

σ

εω

2

¸1

2

e

−i arctan

σ

εω

1

2

.

228

Remembering that for a good conductor

σ

εω

1. Thus, we can drop ”1” in

the [ ] brackets, and get

k = ω

√

εµ

σ

εω

e

−i

π

2

1

2

= ω

√

εµ

σ

εω

e

−i

π

4

.

Since cos(π/4) = sin(π/4) = 1/

√

2, we obtain

k =

√

ωµσ

1

√

2

−i

1

√

2

=

ω µ σ

2

(1 −i) .

Then

α = Re(k) =

ωµσ

2

= β = −Im(k) .

Knowing α, we can ﬁnd the phase velocity of the wave

v

p

=

2ω

µσ

,

which shows that the velocity of propagation in a good conductor depends

on the frequency, even if µ and σ are assumed independent of frequency.

15.2.3 Skin Eﬀect

Since the propagation number is a complex number and for a good conduc-

tor β = α, there is a very heavy attenuation of a propagating wave. For a

complex propagation number, we can write the electric ﬁeld as

E = E

0

e

−βz

e

i(ωt−αz)

.

We see, that the amplitude of the electric (and also magnetic) ﬁeld decreases

exponentially as z increases.

Since we can write

α = β =

2π

λ

,

229

the distance for attenuation ”e” fold (i.e. amplitude falls to a factor

1

e

of its

original value in a distance

1

β

) is

z =

1

β

=

λ

2π

,

i.e.

δ =

1

β

=

λ

2π

≈

λ

6

!!

where δ is called the skin depth in the conductor. It is the distance the wave

must propagate in order to decay by an amount e

−1

. This eﬀect is sometimes

called ”skin eﬀect” as with an increasing σ the current ﬂows in a narrower

and narrower layer, until in the limit of σ →∞ a true current exists only on

the surface of the conductor.

230

Revision questions

Question 1. Show that the propagation number of an electromagnetic ﬁeld in

dielectric and magnetic materials is a complex number.

Question 2. What are the physical consequences of the propagation number of

an electromagnetic ﬁeld being a complex number?

Question 3. What is the deﬁnition of a good conductor?

Question 4. Why the theoretical and experimental values of the refractive index

of water are signiﬁcantly diﬀerent?

Question 5. What is meant by the skin eﬀect of a propagating wave?

Tutorial problems

Problem 15.1 Relations between the electric and magnetic ﬁeld vectors in dielec-

tric and conductor

(a) Show that for a plane wave propagating in a dielectric along

the x-direction, the electric and magnetic ﬁeld vectors satisfy the

relations

∂E

y

∂x

= −

∂B

z

∂t

,

∂E

z

∂x

=

∂B

y

∂t

,

∂H

z

∂x

= −

∂D

y

∂t

,

∂H

y

∂x

=

∂D

z

∂t

.

(b) Show that for the propagation in a conductor

∂E

y

∂x

= −

∂B

z

∂t

,

∂H

z

∂x

= −

∂D

y

∂t

−σE

y

,

where σ is the conductivity of the conductor.

231

(c) Show that E

y

and H

z

each satisﬁes a second order diﬀerential

equation of the form

∂

2

E

y

∂x

2

= εµ

∂

2

E

y

∂t

2

+µσ

∂E

y

∂t

.

Problem 15.2 Energy ﬂow in a conductor

Using the relations of Problem 15.1, part (b), show that in a

conductor the rate of decrease of electromagnetic ﬁeld energy in a

volume element dV is equal to the net rate at which energy ﬂows

out of this volume element plus the rate of Joule heating in the

element.

Problem 15.3 Practical example on propagation and attenuation

If a ﬁeld propagates as a plane wave in the form:

E = E

0

e

i(ωt−kz)

,

where ω is the (real) radian frequency and k is a complex propa-

gation constant that can include the eﬀects of losses due to con-

duction, dielectric loss and magnetic loss, in lectures we derived

a dispersion equation

k = ω

¸

ε

µ

−µ

¸

ε

+

σ

ω

−i

µ

¸

ε

+

σ

ω

+ε

µ

1

2

.

Consider propagation at a frequency of 1 MHz in a medium with

the following properties:

1. Conductivity σ = 10

−9

mho m

−1

.

2. Dielectric susceptibility χ

e

= 3 −i10

−4

.

3. Magnetic susceptibility χ

m

= 2 −i10

−3

.

(a) Calculate the phase velocity and wavelength at 1 MHz.

(b) Compare these values with those for free space propagation

at 1 MHz.

232

(c) Calculate the attenuation coeﬃcient at 1 MHz. How far will

the wave propagate before its amplitude falls to one tenth of its

initial value?

(d) Is this material a good conductor at 1 MHz? Over what

frequency range would it be classiﬁed as a good conductor?

233

16 Transitions Across Boundaries for Elec-

tromagnetic Fields

In the lectures on electric and magnetic properties of materials we have

conﬁned our attention principally to the case of a single material medium

completely occupying the spatial region where electric and magnetic ﬁelds

existed. We now investigate the relations between the ﬁelds which hold at

a boundary between two diﬀerent materials. They are of great help in the

calculations of propagation problems in optics, where light can propagate

between diﬀerent material media.

Across boundaries between diﬀerent materials there are sharp changes in

electrical properties of ε, µ, σ. On a macroscopic scale the ﬁelds may have to

be regarded as varying discontinuously across such boundaries. The source

of such discontinuities will be the surface polarization charges

P ˆ n and cur-

rents

M ˆ n discussed previously.

The question we will address in this lecture is: How the electromagnetic ﬁelds

transfer through a boundary between two materials? In the analysis of the

transfer properties of the electromagnetic ﬁeld across a boundary between

two diﬀerent materials, it is convenient to decompose the ﬁelds into two

components, normal and tangential to the boundary between the materials

and study how each of the components transfers through the boundary.

16.1 Normal Components of the Fields

We will use the Maxwell’s divergence equations I and II to investigate the

transition of normal ﬁeld components at a boundary between two materials.

16.1.1 Normal Component of

B

Consider two materials with diﬀerent constants ε and µ, as shown in the

Figure 55. Suppose that a magnetic ﬁeld

B propagates from material (1)

to (2). We expect that

B will be diﬀerent in diﬀerent materials due to the

presence of diﬀerent surface currents.

234

To check this, we ﬁrst apply the Maxwell’s equation II, ∇

B = 0, to ﬁnd

how the normal component of

B transfers through the boundary between

the two materials.

Figure 55: A Gauss’s surface for the deriva-

tion of the boundary condition on the normal

component of

B.

Using the Gauss’ divergence theo-

rem, the Maxwell’s equation II can

be written in the integral form as

S

B ˆ ndS = 0 , (82)

where S is an arbitrary surface clos-

ing some area on the boundary

plane.

In order to evaluate the integral,

we consider a thin cylinder of

area δS and thickness δ including

the boundary, as shown in Figure 55. In this case, we can distinguish three

surfaces that we represent by unit vectors ˆ n

1

, ˆ n

2

and ˆ n

3

, and therefore the

surface integral in Eq. (82) splits into three terms

(

B

2

ˆ n

1

) δS + (

B

1

ˆ n

2

) δS +

sides

B ˆ n

s

dS = 0 ,

where the ﬁrst term is the ﬂux of the magnetic ﬁeld through the top surface,

the second term is the ﬂux through the bottom surface, and the third term

is the ﬂux through the side surface of the cylinder.

Since

B is ﬁnite everywhere and we are interested in the transformation of

the ﬁeld at the boundary, we make the height δ tend to zero, δ →0. Then,

the integral

sides

B ˆ ndS →0 as δ →0 .

Thus, we ﬁnd that the total ﬂux of the magnetic ﬁeld

B over the surface has

contributions from the top and bottom ends only

B

2

ˆ n

1

+

B

1

ˆ n

2

= 0 . (83)

235

Now, if we introduce the notation

ˆ n

1

= ˆ n then ˆ n

2

= −ˆ n ,

and we ﬁnd that Eq. (83) becomes

ˆ n (

B

2

−

B

1

) = 0 ,

or equivalently, we may write that

B

2⊥

= B

1⊥

,

where B

1⊥

is the component of the ﬁeld

B in material (1) normal to the

boundary and B

2⊥

is the component in material (2) normal to the boundary.

Thus, the normal component of

B is continuous at all points across

a boundary separating two diﬀerent materials.

On physical grounds, we can understand this result by noting that the mag-

netic ﬁelds of polarization currents

M

1

ˆ n

1

and

M

2

ˆ n

2

are parallel to

the boundary and so do not aﬀect the normal component of

B, as shown

in Figure 56.

16.1.2 Normal Component of

H

Since

B = µ

H, we have

B

1⊥

= µ

1

H

1⊥

= µ

2

H

2⊥

= B

2⊥

.

Figure 56: Direction of magnetizations and re-

sulting polarization currents at the boundary be-

tween two diﬀerent materials.

Thus, we obtain that

H

1⊥

=

µ

2

µ

1

H

2⊥

,

which shows that the nor-

mal component of

H is not

continuous across a boundary

between two diﬀerent materi-

als since µ

1

and µ

2

are not

equal.

On physical grounds, this result

for the normal component of

H

is the consequence of diﬀerent magnetizations of the materials, when µ

1

= µ

2

.

236

16.1.3 Normal Component of

D and

E

Since in nonconducting dielectrics ∇

D = 0, an identical argument to that

applied the above for

B will show that the normal component of

D is

continuous across a boundary.

In the case of dielectrics we write

D = ε

**E. Since the normal component of
**

D

is continuous across a boundary, we have

ε

1

E

1⊥

= ε

2

E

2⊥

,

which shows that the normal component of

E is not continuous across the

boundary.

Figure 57: Polarization charges at the

boundary between two diﬀerent materials.

On the physical grounds, we can

understand it as follows. The

electric ﬁeld of the dielectric sur-

face charge

P ˆ n is normal to

the boundary, as shown in Fig-

ure 57. Since the polarizations

of the dielectrics are diﬀerent, so

the ﬁelds of the dielectrics are

diﬀerent. This diﬀerence causes

the discontinuity in the incident

E

ﬁeld.

The discontinuity of the normal

component of the electric ﬁeld leads to a change of the direction of prop-

agation of the ﬁeld, as it is illustrated in Figure 58. The change of the

direction depends on the ratio ε

2

/ε

1

. When ε

2

/ε

1

> 1, θ

2

> θ

1

.

16.2 Tangential Components of the Fields

Diﬀerent boundary conditions apply to the components of the ﬁelds parallel

(tangential) to a boundary between two diﬀerent materials. We will use the

Maxwell’s curl equations III and IV to investigate the transition of tangential

ﬁeld components at a boundary between diﬀerent materials.

237

Figure 58: Boundry between two dielectrics showing change of the direction of propa-

gation of an electric ﬁeld.

16.2.1 Tangential Component of

E

For the tangential component of

E, we will apply the Faraday induction law,

the Maxwell’s equation III, to a closed path such as shown in the Figure 59.

Figure 59: A closed loop for the derivation

of boundary conditions for the tangential com-

ponent of

E.

We choose a closed loop in which

the sides perpendicular to the

boundary are made inﬁnitely short

compared to the parallel sides L.

Consider the Maxwell’s equation III

∇

E = −

∂

B

∂t

.

Integrating both sides of this equa-

tion over the surface a and applying

the Stokes’s theorem, we obtain

l

E d

l = −

a

∂

B

∂t

ˆ n

0

da .

Hence

E

2

ˆ

t

2

+

E

1

ˆ

t

1

L +

ends

E d

l = −

∂

B

∂t

ˆ n

0

da , (84)

238

where ˆ n

o

is the unit vector normal to the surface a, and

ˆ

t

1

and

ˆ

t

2

are unit

vectors along the paths L on the side (1) and (2), respectively.

20

As dl → 0 the right-hand side and the second term on left-hand side of

Eq. (84) go to zero, since

E and

B are ﬁnite everywhere. In this limit, the

area enclosed by the path approaches zero.

Since,

ˆ

t

2

= −

ˆ

t

1

=

ˆ

t, we then have

E

2

−

E

1

ˆ

t = 0 .

But

E

t is the component of

E tangential to the surface. Since this is true

for any

ˆ

t, we obtain E

1

= E

2

, where E

1

and E

2

are the components of

E

1

and

E

2

parallel to the boundary. Thus, we may conclude that:

The tangential component of

E is continuous across a boundary

between two diﬀerent dielectric materials.

Figure 60: Illustration of the direction of the

vector ˆ n

E.

The continuity of a tangential com-

ponent can be written in an equiv-

alent form as

ˆ n

E

2

−

E

1

= 0 .

Explanation

From Figure 60, we see that the

cross product ˆ n

E can be writ-

ten as

ˆ n

E

= E sin(π/2 −θ) = E cos θ .

In other words, ˆ n

E is equal to the projection of the vector

E on the

boundry. Thus, ˆ n

E is tangential to the boundary, i.e. it is the tangential

component of

E.

20

Do not mix the unit vector ˆ n

o

normal to the surface a with the unit vector ˆ n normal

to the boundary. Actually, ˆ n

o

⊥ ˆ n.

239

16.2.2 Tangential Component of

H

Consider the Maxwell’s equation IV:

∇

H =

J

c

+ ε

∂

E

∂t

,

where

J

c

is the conduction current, i.e. not counting polarization currents.

The application of the Stokes’s theorem then gives

l

H d

l =

a

J

c

ˆ nda + ε

a

∂

E

∂t

ˆ nda .

Both terms on the right-hand side go to zero as δl →0 because

J

c

and ∂

E/∂t

are ﬁnite.

21

Hence

H

2

−

H

1

ˆ

t = 0 ,

or

ˆ n

H

2

−

H

1

= 0 .

Thus, we conclude that the tangential component of

H is continuous

at all points across a boundary between two diﬀerent materials.

16.2.3 Tangential component of

B

We may easily deduce that the tangential component of

B is not in general

continuous across a boundary because of the presence of the magnetic polar-

ization surface currents

Mˆ n, which do not have a ﬁnite current density as

they ﬂow in an inﬁnitely thin surface layer.

Thus, if we examine the corresponding Maxwell equation for ∇

B, the term

in the integral involving

J may stay ﬁnite as δj →0.

21

Inﬁnite current density can occur in a material which has inﬁnite electrical conduc-

tivity, but here we ignore this special case.

240

This conclusion can be justiﬁed as follows. Since

H = ε

0

c

2

B −

M ,

we have

H

2

−

H

1

= ε

0

c

2

B

2

−

B

1

−

M

2

−

M

1

.

Figure 61: Directions of magnetizations

and resulting magnetic ﬁelds produced at

a boundary between two materials.

Take scalar product of both sides

with

ˆ

t, and using the fact that the tan-

gential component of

H is continuous

across a boundary

H

2

−

H

1

ˆ

t = 0 ,

we obtain

B

2

−

B

1

ˆ

t =

1

ε

0

c

2

M

2

−

M

1

ˆ

t .

It is seen that if

M

1

=

M

2

, the diﬀer-

ence between the two magnetizations

generates a discontinuity in the

B

ﬁeld, as shown in Figure 61.

Summarizing:

Field components that are continuous across a boundary between

two materials:

• The normal component of

D.

• The tangential component of

E.

• The normal component of

B.

• The tangential component of

H.

241

Revision questions

Question 1. Which of the Maxwell’s equations are used to analyse the transmis-

sion of the normal components of the EM ﬁeld through a boundary

between two materials?

Question 2. Which of the Maxwell’s equations are used to analyse the trans-

mission of the tangential components of the EM ﬁeld through a

boundary between two materials?

Question 3. Explain, using physical grounds, why the normal component of the

magnetic ﬁeld

B is continuous across a boundary between two ma-

terials.

Question 4. Explain, using physical grounds, why the tangential component of

the electric ﬁeld

E is continuous across a boundary between two

materials.

Tutorial problems

Problem 16.1 Change in direction of a ﬁeld line

A (static) electric ﬁeld line makes an angle θ

1

to the normal to

the boundary between two dielectrics. The dielectric constant on

the ‘incident’ side is ε

1

and on the other side is ε

2

. There are no

local charges other than the polarization charges in and on the

dielectrics. Show that the angle the electric ﬁeld makes to the

normal to the boundary in the second dielectric is

θ

2

= arctan

ε

2

ε

1

tan θ

1

.

Problem 16.2 Angles and polarization charges

An inﬁnite slab having a dielectric constant of 4 is placed in a

vacuum which is permeated by an electric ﬁeld

E

0

.

242

(a) Find the angle that

E

0

should make to the boundary normal

so that

E inside the slab makes an angle π/4 with the boundary

normal.

(b) Find the surface density of polarization charge on the slab

in terms of E

0

.

Problem 16.3 Wave reﬂection from a dielectric at normal incidence

Consider waves normally incident on a boundary between two di-

electrics having dielectric constants 4 (on the incident side) and 9.

(a) Draw a diagram showing the directions and magnitudes of

E

and

B in the incident, reﬂected and transmitted waves. Apply

the general boundary conditions for

E and

B directly. Remem-

ber that B = E/v

p

.

(b) Show that the magnitude of the amplitude reﬂection coef-

ﬁcient is 0.2.

243

17 Propagation of an EM Wave Across a Bound-

ary

In the preceding lecture, we have derived relations for transmission of electric

and magnetic ﬁelds through a boundary between two non-conducting mate-

rials. We have treated each ﬁeld separately. We now proceed to consider a

propagation of an EM wave across a boundary between two materials. We

shall ﬁnd that for the propagation of an EM wave the situation is diﬀerent

that we cannot treat the ﬁelds separately. The boundary conditions must

be satisﬁed simultaneously for both the electric and magnetic ﬁelds. This

leads to a modiﬁcation that at a boundary between two diﬀerent materials,

the general boundary conditions cannot be satisﬁed by a transmitted wave

alone. There has to be a reﬂected wave also. What happens is that the inci-

dent radiation is absorbed by charges in the boundary and reradiated in all

directions. The waves interfere destructively except in two directions along

those of the reﬂected and transmitted waves. The directions, amplitudes

and phases of the reﬂected and transmitted waves can be derived from the

general boundary conditions already obtained. This is an explanation often

presented in texbooks on classical optics.

In this lecture, we shall attack these problems from the standpoint of the elec-

tromagnetic theory of light and will show how the propagation phenomenon

can be understood with the help of the Maxwell’s equations. More precisely,

in this and the following lecture, we consider a number of well-known op-

tical phenomena and will show that they can be explained in terms of the

electromagnetic theory of light.

244

17.1 Representation of Plane Waves in Diﬀerent Di-

rections

Let us ﬁrst set up the formalism we shall use in the study of propagation

of an EM wave through a boundary between two materials. The question

we will try to answer is: What is the convenient method to represent plane

waves propagating in diﬀerent directions?

Figure 62: Illustration of the wave front mon-

itored by an observed O distant r from the

point A.

Suppose that a plane wave prop-

agates in the z direction. Then

E =

E

0

exp[i (ωt −kz)] .

Let ˆ n

p

is the unit normal to

the phasefront (wavefront) of the

propagating wave, and r is a po-

sition vector that is independent

of ˆ n

p

, as shown in Figure 62. The

vector r determines position of

a wave-front as seen by an ob-

server O.

We see from Figure 62 that the

distance z the wave propagated in time t is

z = ˆ n

p

r .

Hence, we can write

E =

E

0

exp[i (ωt − ˆ n

p

r k)] .

Thus, if at the point A appear few plane waves propagating in diﬀerent di-

rections, the observer can distinguish them by diﬀerent ˆ n’s. In other words,

the vector r sets a reference frame for the observation of diﬀerent waves at

the point A.

Remember, that an EM wave is composed of the electric and magnetic ﬁelds,

so we have to consider the propagation of both ﬁelds. However, there is

a useful relation between

B and

E of a plane wave that we can ﬁnd the

magnetic ﬁeld from the knowledge of the electric ﬁeld.

245

17.1.1 Representation of

B in terms of

E

The magnetic ﬁeld of a plane wave propagating in the direction determined

by the unit vector ˆ n

p

can be found from the relation

B =

k

ω

ˆ n

p

E . (85)

Proof:

We shall show that the relation (85) arises from the Maxwell equation III:

∇

E = −

∂

B

∂t

.

To prove it, we expand both sides of this equation, and obtain

ˆ

i

ˆ

j

ˆ

k

0 0

∂

∂z

E

x

E

y

0

= −

∂

B

∂t

= −

ˆ

i

∂B

x

∂t

−

ˆ

j

∂B

y

∂t

,

where we have used the fact that the wave is transverse and propagates in

the z direction.

Comparing the coeﬃcients standing at the same unit vectors, we ﬁnd that

the x component gives

−

∂E

y

∂z

= −

∂B

x

∂t

from which, we obtain

ikE

y

= −iωB

x

or

E

y

B

x

= −

ω

k

.

The y component gives:

∂E

x

∂z

= −

∂B

y

∂t

from which, we obtain

−ikE

x

= −iωB

y

or

E

x

B

y

=

ω

k

.

246

Thus

E =

E

2

x

+ E

2

y

1

2

=

ω

k

B

2

x

+ B

2

y

1

2

=

ω

k

B .

Since

E,

B, ˆ n

p

, are mutually orthogonal,

E

B gives the direction of ˆ n

p

(Poynting result) of the propagation direction. Then ˆ n

p

**E gives the direc-
**

tion of

B. Hence, written vectorially

H =

B

µ

=

k

ωµ

ˆ n

p

E . (86)

If ε and µ are real, k = ω

√

εµ, and then we have

H =

ε

µ

ˆ n

p

E . (87)

In the next few lectures, we will use the continuity conditions for

E and

H to

analyse diﬀerent optical phenomena. With the relations (86) or (87), we will

be able to limit the analysis to the electric ﬁeld alone, as knowing properties

of

E, we can infer from Eq. (86) properties of

H.

17.2 Directions of Reﬂected and Transmitted Waves

Armed with the formalism to study propagation of an EM wave between

two materials, we now consider some familiar elementary results of classical

optics on reﬂection and transmission to show that they can be derived from

the Maxwell’s equations.

Figure 63: Propagation vectors for the in-

cident, reﬂected and refracted beams at a

boundary between two materials.

The most useful results in this

connection concern the continu-

ity of tangential components of

the

E and

H ﬁelds. How-

ever, most of the results can

be derived from the fact that

the tangential component of

E

is continuous across a bound-

ary.

247

Consider properties of an EM wave

(radiation beam) at a boundary be-

tween two materials, as illustrated

in Figure 63.

Let the origin of position coordinates r be located on the boundary S. Then

the electric ﬁelds for incident, reﬂected and transmitted waves are

E

i

=

E

0

exp [i (ωt − ˆ n

i

r k

1

)] ,

E

r

=

E

1

exp [i (ωt − ˆ n

r

r k

1

)] ,

E

t

=

E

2

exp [i (ωt − ˆ n

t

r k

2

)] .

These equations determine directions of the three electric ﬁelds relative to

the direction of observation r. Note that we have assumed the presence of

the reﬂected wave without any particular reasons.

Why do we need the presence of the reﬂected wave in the propa-

gation of an incident wave through the boundary?

The answer to this question is provided by the requirement that the tangen-

tial components of

E and

H must be continuous through the boundary.

Suppose that

E is polarized in the plane of incidence, i.e plane containing ˆ n

and ˆ n

i

. Then, the following two equations result from the continuity condi-

tions

E

i

cos θ

i

−E

r

cos θ

r

= E

t

cos θ

t

, (88)

and

H

i

+ H

r

= H

t

. (89)

Since

H =

k

ωµ

E ,

the relation (89) takes the form

E

i

+ E

r

=

k

2

k

1

E

t

, (90)

248

as for a dielectric µ

1

= µ

2

= µ

0

.

Now we see that without E

r

, Eq. (88) gives

E

i

=

cos θ

t

cos θ

i

E

t

,

while Eq. (90) gives

E

i

=

k

2

k

1

E

t

.

Thus, without E

r

we would get two diﬀerent values for E

i

or E

t

, which we

cannot accept as both continuity conditions Eqs. (88) and (89) must be satis-

ﬁed at the same moment. Hence, we conclude that the continuity conditions

for

E and

H will be satisﬁed only if E

r

= 0.

The same argument applies to the need of the transmitted wave. Without E

t

,

we get two equations

E

r

=

cos θ

i

cos θ

r

E

i

and E

r

= −E

i

,

which evidently cannot be in general satisﬁed simultaneously.

Now, we will try to answer the following question:

What are the relative directions of the three waves represented

here by the unit vectors ˆ n

i

, ˆ n

r

and ˆ n

t

?

To answer this question, we use the boundary condition for the tangential

component of

E:

ˆ n

E

i

+

E

r

= ˆ n

E

t

,

i.e.

ˆ n

E

0

exp [i (ωt − ˆ n

i

r k

1

)] +

E

1

exp [i (ωt − ˆ n

r

r k

1

)]

¸

= ˆ n

E

2

exp [i (ωt − ˆ n

t

r k

2

)]

¸

.

249

This relation must hold over the whole surface S for all r (subject to ˆ nr = 0).

Thus, the exponential phase factors must all be the same. Otherwise, if it

was true for one r it would not be true for other r’s, but we have a freedom

of choosing r. Hence

k

1

ˆ n

i

r = k

1

ˆ n

r

r = k

2

ˆ n

t

r ,

from which we have

ˆ n

i

r = ˆ n

r

r , (91)

and

ˆ n

i

r =

k

2

k

1

ˆ n

t

r .

These relations will help us to prove that:

Incident, reﬂected and transmitted waves are coplanar.

In other words, ˆ n

i

, ˆ n

r

, ˆ n

t

are coplanar, the property observed in experiments.

To show this, we ﬁrst deﬁne planes determined by pairs of the unit vectors

(ˆ n

i

, ˆ n), (ˆ n

r

, ˆ n) and (ˆ n

t

, ˆ n), and next will show that all the pairs of the unit

vectors form the same plane.

It is well known from the vector analysis that a cross product between two

vectors determines a plane in which these two vectors are. Thus, we will

determine the cross products ˆ n

i

ˆ n, ˆ n

r

ˆ n and ˆ n

t

ˆ n, and then will show

that the cross products are equal.

In order to ﬁnd the cross products, we use the following relation valid for

arbitrary r and ˆ n, such that ˆ n r = 0.

r = −ˆ n (ˆ n r) . (92)

Proof:

Since

ˆ n (ˆ n r) = (ˆ n r)ˆ n −(ˆ n ˆ n)r ,

250

and ˆ n r = 0 as the vector r lies on the plane S, we obtain

ˆ n (ˆ n r) = −r ,

as required.

Figure 64: Illustration that the inci-

dent and reﬂected beams are coplanar.

Using Eq. (92), we can then write

Eq. (91) as

ˆ n

i

[ˆ n (ˆ n r)] = ˆ n

r

[ˆ n (ˆ n r)] .

Interchanging () and () products, we

ﬁnd

(ˆ n

i

ˆ n) (ˆ n r) = (ˆ n

r

ˆ n) (ˆ n r) .

This must be true for all r in

plane S. Thus:

ˆ n

i

ˆ n = ˆ n

r

ˆ n .

This implies that ˆ n

r

is in the ”plane of incidence”, i.e. the plane containing ˆ n

and ˆ n

i

, as shown in Figure 64.

Similarly, the relation

k

1

ˆ n

i

r = k

2

ˆ n

t

r

implies that

k

1

ˆ n

i

ˆ n (ˆ n r) = k

2

ˆ n

t

ˆ n (ˆ n r) .

As before, by interchanging () and () products, we ﬁnd that

k

1

(ˆ n

i

ˆ n) (ˆ n r) = k

2

(ˆ n

t

ˆ n) (ˆ n r) .

This relation is valid for all r in S. Thus

k

1

ˆ n

i

ˆ n = k

2

ˆ n

t

ˆ n .

This means that ˆ n

t

is in the plane of incidence. Thus, we may conclude that

ˆ n

i

, ˆ n, and ˆ n

t

are coplanar.

The coplanar property of the waves is observed in any experiment. Note that

what we have just shown is an another example of a remarkable triumph of

the Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory.

251

17.3 Angle of Reﬂection and Snell’s Law of Refraction

We now illustrate that other familiar laws of elementary optics can also be

derived from the Maxwell’s equations.

We have already shown that

ˆ n

i

ˆ n = ˆ n

r

ˆ n ,

from which and from the deﬁnition of the cross product, we have that

sin θ

i

= sin θ

r

.

Hence

θ

i

= θ

r

.

Thus, the angle of incidence equals the angle of reﬂection, another

familiar law of elementary optics.

Moreover, we have shown that

k

1

ˆ n

i

ˆ n = k

2

ˆ n

t

ˆ n ,

from which we have

k

1

sin θ

i

= k

2

sin θ

t

,

and then

sin θ

i

sin θ

t

=

k

2

k

1

= n

12

=

n

2

n

1

.

This is the well-known law of refraction in optics, called the Snell’s law.

In the case where k

1

and k

2

are purely real (e.g. in dielectrics), the refractive

index has a simple physical interpretation

n

12

=

k

2

k

1

=

ω/k

1

ω/k

2

=

v

1

v

2

,

i.e. the refractive index in equal to the ratio of phase velocities.

252

Revision questions

Question 1. Why there are three waves, incident, reﬂected and refracted in a

propagation of an EM wave between two dielectric materials?

Question 2. What is a plane of incidence?

Question 3. Incident, reﬂected and transmitted waves are coplanar: True or

false?

Question 4. State the Snell’s law, and brieﬂy explain how it is derived from the

Maxwell’s equations.

Question 5. How does the refractive index depend on phase velocities of an EM

wave propagating between two dielectric materials?

253

18 Fresnel’s Equations

In the propagation of an EM wave between two diﬀerent materials, it is im-

portant to know how much of the energy of the incident beam is reﬂected

and transmitted. In this lecture, we will ﬁnd relations between the ampli-

tudes of the incident, reﬂected and refracted beams. More precisely, we will

express the amplitudes of the reﬂected and transmitted beams in terms of

the amplitude of the incident beam. We shall see that the relations depend

on the angle of propagation of the incident beam and the material constants.

The boundary condition on tangential

E does not give suﬃcient information

to calculate

E

r

and

E

t

in terms of

E

i

. For a given

E

i

there are still two

unknowns in the equation for continuity of tangential

E viz

E

r

and

E

t

. We

need a second relation between

E

i

,

E

r

and

E

t

. This can be obtained from

the continuity of the magnetic ﬁeld.

We know that tangential component of

B is not continuous across a boundary

because of the presence of

M ˆ n surface currents in magnetized materials.

To allow for such possibilities we can use the more general condition that

tangential component of

H is continuous across a boundary, i.e.

ˆ n

H

i

+

H

r

= ˆ n

H

t

.

Since

H =

B

µ

=

k

ωµ

ˆ n

p

E ,

where ˆ n

p

is a unit ray vector in the direction of propagation, we have an

equation

ˆ n

k

1

ωµ

1

ˆ n

i

E

i

+

k

1

ωµ

1

ˆ n

r

E

r

= ˆ n

k

2

ωµ

2

ˆ n

t

E

t

, (93)

which together with

ˆ n

E

i

+

E

r

= ˆ n

E

t

, (94)

contains suﬃcient information to determine

E

r

and

E

t

in terms of

E

i

.

254

Since these two equations involve vectors of an arbitrary polarization, the

solution of these two equations is greatly facilitated by decomposing each

of the vectors into two components: electric ﬁeld components parallel and

normal to the plane of incidence. Then, we can solve these two cases sep-

arately that are necessary and suﬃcient to determine the relations between

the amplitudes valid for an arbitrary polarization since a superposition of

these two cases gives the solution for an arbitrary polarized incident wave.

Equations (93) and (94) also provide a simple explanation of why we need

reﬂected and transmitted ﬁelds at the boundary to obtain the correct results

for the ﬁeld amplitudes.

18.1

E

i

normal to plane of incidence

Suppose that the electric ﬁeld

E

i

of an EM wave acting on a boundary is

normal to the plane of incidence, as shown in Figure 65.

Figure 65: Incident beam with the elec-

tric ﬁeld normal to the plane of incidence.

In this case, the incident electric

ﬁeld

E

i

is purely tangential to the

boundary. Since the materials are

isotropic, the induced ﬁelds

E

r

and

E

t

will also be tangential to the the

boundary. Thus the condition

ˆ n

E

i

+

E

r

= ˆ n

E

t

gives

E

0

+

E

1

=

E

2

. (95)

Note then that

ˆ n

E

0

= ˆ n

E

1

= ˆ n

E

2

= 0 .

If we want to express E

1

and E

2

in terms of E

0

, we need an another equation

for

E

0

,

E

1

and

E

2

, which comes from the continuity condition of

H through

the relation

ˆ n

k

1

ωµ

1

ˆ n

i

E

i

+

k

1

ωµ

1

ˆ n

r

E

r

= ˆ n

k

2

ωµ

2

ˆ n

t

E

t

.

255

Since the phase factors in

E

α

exp i(ωt − ˆ n

α

r k) are the same, we obtain

k

1

ωµ

1

ˆ n

ˆ n

i

E

0

+ ˆ n

ˆ n

r

E

1

=

k

2

ωµ

2

ˆ n

ˆ n

t

E

2

.

Using a vector identity

A (

B

C) = (

A

C)

B − (

A

B)

**C, and the fact
**

that ˆ n

E

0

= ˆ n

E

1

= ˆ n

E

2

= 0, we obtain

k

1

ωµ

1

ˆ n ˆ n

i

E

0

+ ˆ n ˆ n

r

E

1

=

k

2

ωµ

2

ˆ n ˆ n

t

E

2

.

However

ˆ n ˆ n

i

= cos(π −θ

i

) = −cos θ

i

,

ˆ n ˆ n

r

= cos θ

r

= cos θ

i

,

ˆ n ˆ n

t

= cos(π −θ

t

) = −cos θ

t

,

and then, we obtain

k

1

ωµ

1

E

0

cos θ

i

−

E

1

cos θ

i

=

k

2

ωµ

2

E

2

cos θ

t

. (96)

Since

E’s are all in the same direction, we might as well drop the vector

signs. Thus, Eqs. (95) and (96) take the form

E

0

+ E

1

= E

2

, (97)

E

0

cos θ

i

−E

1

cos θ

i

=

k

2

µ

1

k

1

µ

2

E

2

cos θ

t

. (98)

Eliminating E

1

using Eq. (97), that E

1

= E

2

−E

0

, we get

E

0

cos θ

i

−(E

2

−E

0

) cos θ

i

=

k

2

µ

1

k

1

µ

2

E

2

cos θ

t

,

which can be written as

2E

0

cos θ

i

=

cos θ

i

+

k

2

µ

1

k

1

µ

2

cos θ

t

E

2

,

or

2k

1

µ

2

E

0

cos θ

i

= (k

1

µ

2

cos θ

i

+ k

2

µ

1

cos θ

t

) E

2

.

256

Thus

E

2

=

2k

1

µ

2

cos θ

i

k

1

µ

2

cos θ

i

+ k

2

µ

1

cos θ

t

E

0

. (99)

Using the Snell’s law

k

1

sin θ

i

= k

2

sin θ

t

,

we can eliminate θ

t

. This will allow us to predict the amplitude of the

reﬂected wave from only knowing materials properties (k

1

, k

2

, µ

1

, µ

2

) and the

angle of incidence. Thus, from the Snell’s law, we have

k

2

cos θ

t

=

k

2

2

−k

2

1

sin

2

θ

i

and then substituting to Eq. (99), we get

E

2

=

2k

1

µ

2

cos θ

i

k

1

µ

2

cos θ

i

+ µ

1

k

2

2

−k

2

1

sin

2

θ

i

E

0

. (100)

Similarly, eliminating E

2

= E

0

+ E

1

from Eq. (98) above, we obtain

E

1

=

k

1

µ

2

cos θ

i

−µ

1

k

2

2

−k

2

1

sin

2

θ

i

k

1

µ

2

cos θ

i

+ µ

1

k

2

2

−k

2

1

sin

2

θ

i

E

0

. (101)

Equations (100) and (101) are called Fresnel equations for the electric ﬁeld

amplitudes.

The corresponding

H ﬁelds are not parallel to each other, but their relative

magnitudes can be deducted from equations of the form

H =

k

µω

ˆ n

E i.e. H =

kE

µω

.

18.2

E

i

in the plane of incidence

Suppose now that

E

i

is in the plane of incidence. In this case

H

i

is tangential

to the boundary plane and then

H

r

and

H

t

are tangential too. Thus

ˆ n

H

i

+

H

r

= ˆ n

H

t

257

becomes

H

0

+

H

1

=

H

2

.

The continuity of tangential

E is given by

ˆ n

E

0

+

E

1

= ˆ n

E

2

.

We have two simultaneous equations. In contrast to the previous case, it is

now simpler to work in terms of

H.

Thus, we express

E in terms of

H

E = −

ω

k

ˆ n

B = −

µω

k

ˆ n

H .

Hence

ˆ n

¸

µ

1

k

1

ˆ n

i

H

0

+

µ

1

k

1

ˆ n

r

H

1

= ˆ n

µ

2

k

2

ˆ n

t

H

2

.

Continuing with a procedure similar to the case of

E

i

normal to plane of

incidence, we obtain

H

1

=

k

2

2

µ

2

cos θ

i

−µ

1

k

1

k

2

2

−k

2

1

sin

2

θ

i

k

2

2

µ

1

cos θ

i

+ µ

2

k

1

k

2

2

−k

2

1

sin

2

θ

i

H

0

, (102)

H

2

=

2k

2

2

µ

2

cos θ

i

k

2

2

µ

1

cos θ

i

+ µ

2

k

1

k

2

2

−k

2

1

sin

2

θ

i

H

0

. (103)

Equations (102) and (103) are called Fresnel equations for the magnetic

ﬁeld amplitudes.

This time the

E’s are not parallel, but their relative amplitudes can be de-

ducted from the relation E = (µω/k)H.

18.3 Fresnel Equations for dielectric media

Consider now two speciﬁc examples of propagation of an EM wave between

two dielectric materials. We shall show that in this case, the Fresnel equa-

tions can be simpliﬁed to forms containing only geometrical factors.

258

In a dielectric: conductivities σ

1

= σ

2

= 0, µ

1

= µ

2

= µ

0

, k = 2π/λ =

real, and

v

p

=

ω

k

=

1

√

εµ

0

.

Since k ∼ 1/λ ∼ 1/v

p

∼

√

ε, the Snell’s law (k

1

sin θ

i

= k

2

sin θ

t

) becomes

√

ε

1

sin θ

i

=

√

ε

2

sin θ

t

,

and then

sin θ

i

sin θ

t

=

ε

2

ε

1

=

v

1

v

2

= n

12

.

Consider two examples:

Example 1: In the ﬁrst example we assume that E is normal to the plane

of incidence. From Eq. (100), we have that in general

E

2

E

0

=

2k

1

µ

2

cos θ

i

k

1

µ

2

cos θ

i

+ k

2

µ

1

cos θ

t

.

Since for a dielectric

µ

1

= µ

2

= µ

0

and

k

2

k

1

=

sin θ

i

sin θ

t

,

we obtain

E

2

E

0

=

2 cos θ

i

cos θ

i

+

k

2

k

1

cos θ

t

=

2 cos θ

i

cos θ

i

+

sin θ

i

sin θt

cos θ

t

=

2 cos θ

i

sin θ

t

cos θ

i

sin θ

t

+ sin θ

i

cos θ

t

.

Hence

E

2

E

0

=

2 cos θ

i

sin θ

t

sin (θ

t

+ θ

i

)

.

259

Similarly, we can readily show that

E

1

E

0

=

sin(θ

t

−θ

i

)

sin (θ

t

+ θ

i

)

. (104)

Example 2: Consider now the case of E in the plane of incidence. Following

the same procedure as above, we can show that

E

2

E

0

=

2 cos θ

i

cos θ

t

sin (θ

t

+ θ

i

) cos (θ

i

−θ

t

)

,

and similarly

E

1

E

0

=

tan(θ

i

−θ

t

)

tan (θ

t

+ θ

i

)

.

It is seen from the above examples that the reﬂection and refraction ampli-

tudes are diﬀerent for linearly polarized waves with the electric ﬁeld vector

oscillation in the direction normal to the plane of incidence and for waves

with the electric ﬁeld vector oscillating in the plane of incidence. However,

the above examples show an interesting feature that for normal incidence,

(θ

i

= 0), the reﬂected and refracted amplitudes are independent of the po-

larization.

Revision questions

Question 1. Explain in general, what are the Fresnel’s equations?

Question 2. Under which conditions the ratios of the reﬂected to the incident

and transmitted to the incident beams amplitudes depend solely on

the angles involved?

Question 3. Does the amplitude of the reﬂected beam depend on polarization of

the incident beam?

260

Tutorial problems

Problem 18.1 Reﬂected and transmitted ﬁelds at a boundary between two non-

conducting materials

Consider a propagation of an electromagnetic wave between two

diﬀerent non-conducting materials. Prove the following:

(a) For

E

i

in the plane of incidence

E

1

E

0

=

sin 2θ

t

−sin 2θ

i

sin 2θ

t

+ sin 2θ

i

and

E

2

E

0

=

4 sin θ

t

cos θ

i

sin 2θ

t

+ sin 2θ

i

.

(b) For

E

i

normal to the plane of incidence

E

1

E

0

=

sin(θ

t

−θ

i

)

sin(θ

t

+θ

i

)

and

E

2

E

0

=

2 sin θ

t

cos θ

i

sin(θ

t

+θ

i

)

.

261

19 Applications of the Boundary Conditions

and the Fresnel Equations

In this lecture, we examine some of the consequences of the Snell’s law. There

are two cases possible: n

2

> n

1

and n

1

> n

2

. In the ﬁrst case, an optical

wave travels from an optically ”rarer” to optically ”denser” medium. In the

second case, we have the inverse situation. We will consider these two cases

separately for dielectrics and for conductors.

19.1 Applications in dielectrics

In propagation between two dielectrics there are interesting polarization

dependent eﬀects that the two components of the EM wave (parallel and

perpendicular to the plane of incidence) are not transmitted and reﬂected

equally.

19.1.1 Polarization by reﬂection

Consider the case of

E in the plane of incidence, as shown in Figure 66.

Figure 66: Geometry of reﬂection and

refraction for the incident

E ﬁeld polarized

in the plane of incidence.

From the Fresnel equations, we have

that the ratio of reﬂected to incident

amplitude is

E

1

E

0

=

tan(θ

i

−θ

t

)

tan(θ

i

+ θ

t

)

.

Note from the ratio, if θ

i

+θ

t

=

π

2

then

tan(θ

i

+ θ

t

) = ∞ and consequently

E

1

= 0 .

However, according to Eq. (104),

at the same time E

1

will not be

zero for the electric ﬁeld compo-

nent normal to the plane of inci-

dence.

262

Thus, if

E

i

has arbitrary polarization then

E

r

will be plane polarized with

E

r

normal to the plane of incidence.

If θ

i

+ θ

t

=

π

2

then θ

t

=

π

2

−θ

i

. Thus

sin θ

i

sin θ

t

= n

21

=

ε

2

ε

1

=

sin θ

i

sin(

π

2

−θ

i

)

= tan θ

i

.

Hence, the angle of incidence for total linear polarization of the reﬂected

wave is

θ

i

= arctan

ε

2

ε

1

.

It is known in the literature as the Brewster’s angle.

There is an equivalent alternative proof that if

E is in the plane of incidence,

then E

1

= 0 (no reﬂected ﬁeld polarized in the plane of incidence).

Alternatively, it can be proved using the continuity conditions for the tan-

gential components of

E and

H, from which we have

E

0

cos θ −E

1

cos θ = E

2

cos θ

t

, (105)

and

H

0

+ H

1

= H

2

. (106)

Since

H =

k

ωµ

E , (107)

and θ

t

=

π

2

−θ, we get

E

0

−E

1

= E

2

tan θ ,

E

0

+ E

1

= n

12

E

2

, (108)

where n

12

= k

2

/k

1

.

263

However, from the Snell’s law we have that

sin θ

sin θ

t

=

sin θ

sin

π

2

−θ

=

sin θ

cos θ

= tan θ = n

12

.

Thus, Eqs. (108) will be satisﬁed simultaneously only if E

1

= 0, i.e. there is

no reﬂected ﬁeld in the plane of incidence.

We now prove that the above conclusion is not true for

E

i

polarized normal

to the plane of incidence. In this case

H

0

cos θ −H

1

cos θ = H

2

cos θ

t

, (109)

and

E

0

+ E

1

= E

2

. (110)

From Eq. (109) we ﬁnd, after applying Eq. (107), that

E

0

−E

1

=

cos θ

t

cos θ

E

2

= n

12

E

2

.

Thus, E

1

must be present, otherwise E

0

or E

2

would have two diﬀerent values.

19.1.2 Total internal reﬂection

We now illustrate an another interesting eﬀect that has many practical ap-

plications: Total internal reﬂection at a boundary between two dielectrics.

It is well known from experiments that in the case of propagation from an

optically more dense to optically less dense medium, e.g. from water in to

air, the incident beam can be completely reﬂected at the boundary with no

transmission. Does it mean that there is no refracted beam? If this is the

case, one can easily ﬁnd from the conditions of continuity of the tangental

components of

E and

H that the refracted beam has to be present to satisfy

those two conditions.

It looks that the EM theory is in a trouble, but no panic, lets see how we

can handle this problem in terms of the EM theory.

264

Consider the Snell’s law

sin θ

t

=

sin θ

i

n

21

, where n

21

=

ε

2

ε

1

.

One can see that in the case of n

21

< 1, that happens when ε

2

< ε

1

, and

when the wave is going from an optically more dense to optically less dense

medium, real angles θ

t

are obtained only for sin θ

i

≤ n

21

.

Since θ

t

increases with θ

i

, an interesting situation arises when θ

t

= π/2,

at which angle the refracted wave glaze along the boundary. The angle of

incidence at which θ

t

= π/2 or equivalently at which

sin θ

i

= n

21

is called a critical angle for propagation.

For greater θ

i

, sin θ

t

> 1, and then the angle of refraction θ

t

becomes imagi-

nary. In this case, there is no real refracted wave, only a reﬂected wave.

What does it mean ”no real” refracted wave?

The answer to this question is provided by calculating the cosine of θ

t

, which

in the case of the total internal reﬂection is an imaginary number

cos θ

t

=

1 −sin

2

θ

t

=

1 −

sin

2

θ

i

n

2

21

= ±i

sin

2

θ

i

n

2

21

−1 = iβ ,

We see that although sin θ

t

is still real, cos θ

t

becomes imaginary when

sin θ

t

> 1.

What are the consequences of this property?

Consider the propagation of the transmitted wave in the less optically dense

medium, as illustrated in Figure 67, for which

E

t

= E

2

e

−i(ωt−ˆ nt·rk)

,

265

with the propagation distance

ˆ n

t

r = z cos θ

t

+ x sin θ

t

= iβz + αx .

Then

E

t

= E

2

e

−i(ωt−iβ

z−α

x)

= E

2

e

−β

z

e

−i(ωt−α

x)

.

Here β

= kβ and α

**= kα. One can see that there is attenuation of the ﬁeld
**

amplitude in the z direction but no phase propagation. Phase propagation

occurs in the x direction along the boundary.

Figure 67: A schematic diagram for

calculation of the propagation distance

of the transmitted wave under the total

reﬂection.

Thus, for sin θ

t

> 1, an evanes-

cent wave exists along the bound-

ary (in the x direction) which is at-

tenuated exponentially in the second

medium in the normal z direction. We

may say that the ﬁeld enters into the

second material, but the wave does

not.

This illustrates a general method of ap-

plying the Fresnel equations. For only a

limited range of circumstances will all the

angles θ

i

, θ

r

, θ

t

be real. We can how-

ever always apply a generalized Snell’s

Law k

2

sin θ

t

= k

1

sin θ

i

to ﬁnd sin θ

t

and

cos θ

t

and proceed as above.

Note that the planes of constant phase

are normal to the boundary (i.e. they have their normals tangential to the

boundary). The phase of the transmitted wave below the boundary must

match the incident wave above. The wavelength in the second medium is

λ

=

2π

α

=

2π

kα

=

2π

2π

λ

0

sin θ

i

n

21

=

λ

0

n

21

sin θ

i

,

where λ

0

is the wavelength of freely propagating waves in this medium.

The planes of constant amplitude in the transmitted medium are parallel to

the boundary.

266

19.2 Transmission and Reﬂection at a Conducting

Surface

Propagation of EM ﬁelds in conductors (metals) is more complicated phe-

nomenon than in dielectrics. Consider a propagation of an EM wave in a

medium composed of a dielectric and a conductor, and assume that the in-

cident wave originates in the dielectric.

From previous work, we know that in a dielectric the propagation number is

k

2

1

= ε

1

µ

1

ω

2

and in a conductor

k

2

2

= ε

2

µ

2

ω

2

−iωσµ

2

= ε

2

µ

2

ω

2

1 −

iσ

ε

2

ω

.

A characteristic property of propagation in the conductor is that in the limit

of of a good conductor, σ/(ε

2

ω) 1, the propagation number k

2

→ ∞. As

we shall see this is a major factor for the propagation in the conductor to be

completely diﬀerent than in the dielectric.

Figure 68: Propagation of an EM

wave from a dielectric to a conductor.

Consider the Snell’s law which can be

written as

sin θ

t

=

k

1

k

2

sin θ

i

.

Assume that the metal is a good con-

ductor. Since in a good conductor k

2

→

∞, we see from the above equation that

in the propagation from a dielectric to

a good conductor, sin θ

t

→ 0 indepen-

dent of θ

i

. Thus, the direction of the

transmitted wave is normal to the sur-

face independent of the angle of inci-

dence θ

i

.

As a consequence, the ﬁeld vectors

E and

H in the conductor lie tangential

to the boundary and so the normal components of these vectors on the con-

ductor side of the boundary are zero.

267

It follows that:

• Since the normal component of

B (or

H) is continuous across the

boundary, the normal component of

H or

B is zero on the dielectric

side also.

Thus the normal component of

B of the reﬂected wave must be equal

and opposite to that of the incident wave.

• In a good conductor

k

2

2

k

2

1

= K

1 −

iσ

εω

→∞ as

σ

εω

1 ,

and then we have from the Fresnel equations

E

2

→0 and E

1

→−E

0

.

This means that the electric ﬁeld in the conductor (which is tangential to

the boundary) → 0.

Since E

is continuous across the boundary, we have that E

is zero also in

the dielectric at the boundary.

Thus, the tangential component of

E of the reﬂected wave must be equal and

opposite to that of the incident wave.

In summary, we have two useful special boundary conditions at the surface

between a dielectric and a perfect conductor:

1. The tangential component of

E = 0.

2. The normal component of

B or

H = 0.

268

19.2.1 Field vectors at normal incidence

We now consider the special case of normal incidence at a boundary, i.e. when

the wave propagation vector coincides with the normal to the boundary.

Figure 69: The ﬁeld vectors in the

plane of the surface between dielectric

and conductor.

Figure 69 shows how the ﬁeld vectors

must look in the plane of the surface be-

tween dielectric and conductor. Since we

already know that for a good conductor

for which

σ

εω

→∞ ,

the tangential component of the trans-

mitted electric ﬁeld E

t

= 0, and the tan-

gential component of the reﬂected mag-

netic ﬁeld H

r

= H

i

, we ﬁnd that the re-

lations between the ﬁeld components take

the form

E

t

= E

i

−E

r

→ 0 ,

H

t

= H

i

+ H

r

→ 2H

i

.

In this case, the power reﬂection coeﬃcient becomes

α

p

=

E

r

H

r

E

i

H

i

=

E

2

r

E

2

i

→ 1 as

σ

εω

→∞ .

Thus, we have the total reﬂection of the energy carried by the EM wave.

We see an advantage of using dielectric-conductor boundary to propagate

an EM wave in a material.

1. The energy of the wave is completely reﬂected, and in fact the total

reﬂection is independent of the angle of incidence.

2. The polarization remains constant in the propagation.

Before concluding the lecture, let us clarify a problem regarding the reﬂec-

tion at the normal incidence. Namely, one could think that under the normal

incidence, there is only the incident and transmitted wave with no reﬂected

269

wave. Here, we prove the necessity of assuming the existence of the reﬂected

wave.

Assume that

E is normal to the plane of incidence. Then, from the continuity

of the tangential components at the boundary, we have

E

i

−E

r

= E

t

, (111)

H

i

+ H

r

= H

t

. (112)

However

H =

ε

µ

0

E =

ε

ε

0

ε

0

µ

0

E = n

ε

0

µ

0

E .

Thus, Eq. (112) can be written as

n

1

E

i

+ n

1

E

r

= n

2

E

t

,

and then we get two equations for the amplitudes of the electric ﬁeld

E

i

−E

r

= E

t

,

E

i

+ E

r

=

n

2

n

1

E

t

.

If E

r

is missing, we could not simultaneously satisfy both equations. Thus,

there always is a reﬂected wave in the normal incidence.

270

Revision questions

Question 1. What is a Brewster’s angle and why one could call it a polarizing

angle?

Question 2. Under what conditions will the reﬂected and transmitted amplitudes

for perpendicular polarization be the same as those for parallel po-

larization?

Question 3. Under which conditions an incident wave will be completely reﬂected

at a boundary between two dielectrics?

Question 4. What is meant by an evanescent wave?

Question 5. What are the boundary conditions at a surface between a dielectric

and a perfect conductor?

Question 6. In the propagation of an EM wave between a dielectric and a perfect

conductor, the direction of the transmitted wave is normal to the

boundary surface independent of the angle of incidence: True or

false?

Question 7. In the propagation between a dielectric and a perfect conductor

what happens to the electric ﬁeld at the boundary?

Question 8. Is there a reﬂected beam at the normal incidence to a boundary

between two materials?

271

Tutorial problems

Problem 19.1 Brewster’s angle for diﬀerent polarizations

Consider a propagation of an electromagnetic wave between two

non-conducting materials.

(a) For the polarization of the

E

i

in the plane of incidence, ﬁnd

the relation between the critical angle of incidence and the Brew-

ster’s angle. Note, at the critical angle of incidence θ

t

= π/2, and

at the Brewster’s angle of incidence θ

i

+θ

t

= π/2.

(b) Show that under the condition of no reﬂection at a boundary

between two non-conducting materials, the sum of the Brewster’s

angle and the angle of refraction is π/2 for

(i)

E

i

normal to the plane of incidence, ε

1

= ε

2

= ε

0

and µ

1

= µ

2

.

(ii)

E

i

in the plane of incidence, µ

1

= µ

2

= µ

0

and ε

1

= ε

2

.

Problem 19.2 Total internal reﬂection independent of polarization

Show, using the Fresnel’s equations that under the total inter-

nal reﬂection, energy of an incident wave is completely reﬂected

independent of polarization of the wave.

272

20 Propagation of an EM Wave in a Rectan-

gular Waveguide

In many practical problems we want to send a signal (EM wave) to diﬀer-

ent places in an eﬃcient way. Sending it in an uncontrolled way through

the free space in air is not a good choice. Due to scattering of the wave on

diﬀerent objects there will be signiﬁcant losses and uncontrolled changes of

the direction of propagation. Therefore, we need some device which would

help us to send the signal in more controlled way and where it would be pro-

tected from degradation. Conducting rectangular waveguides provide this:

the waves can be propagated and delivered to the speciﬁc points (receivers)

without signiﬁcany losses.

In this lecture, we discuss the propagation of bounded EM waves by consid-

ering the propagation of radiation through a waveguide where the radiation

is fully conﬁned in the transverse plane. We will consider the case where

the bounding walls are made of a conductor, are planar and cross section is

rectangular. Figure 70 shows an example of the rectangular waveguide.

Figure 70: A schematic diagram of a rect-

angular waveguide.

An EM wave propagating along

the z direction may undergo a

multiple reﬂection from the walls.

Thus, we are likely to get stand-

ing waves in the x direction due

to reﬂections between the walls

x = 0 and x = a. We also

get standing waves in the y di-

rection due to reﬂections between

the walls y = 0 and y =

b.

The principles behind the propaga-

tion of an EM wave along the rect-

angular waveguide are analysed by solving the Maxwell’s equations for the

ﬁelds inside the waveguide subject to the good conductor boundary condi-

tions being satisﬁed at x = 0, x = a, y = 0 and y = b. We write the z

273

dependence of any ﬁeld component in the form

e

−γz

Thus

∂

∂z

≡ −γ ,

where γ describes the propagation conditions, e.g. γ purely imaginary de-

scribes a wave propagating without loss.

We describe the electromagnetic ﬁeld by the vector pair

E,

H, and we use

the Maxwell’s equations in the form

∇

E =

ρ

ε

= 0 ,

∇

B = 0 or ∇

H = 0 ,

∇

E = −

∂

B

∂t

= −µ

∂

H

∂t

,

∇

H =

J + ε

∂

E

∂t

= σ

E + ε

∂

E

∂t

,

where σ is the conductivity of the interior of the waveguide, not the bounding

metallic surfaces. We assume the interior if ﬁlled with a dielectric, but allow

a possible non-zero conductivity of the dielectric.

As we shall see, certain characteristic modes of propagation are found.

In general a characteristic mode is one which propagates with constant po-

larization.

In a rectangular waveguide, one may have TE (transverse electric) waves, or

TM (transverse magnetic) wave, but not TEM wave. If both E and B ﬁelds

are transverse, the wave would be going straight down the guide. However,

such a wave would not satisfy various boundary conditions and could not be

transmitted through the waveguide.

For a TE wave, the electric ﬁeld

E is transverse to the direction in which the

wave is propagating that is, down the waveguide. The magnetic ﬁeld

B is

perpendicular to

E and therefore there is a substantial component of

B that

points in the direction of the waveguide.

274

20.1 Transverse Electric (TE) Modes

As we have already mentioned is possible to propagate a wave with the elec-

tric ﬁeld polarized in the xy plane, a TE wave with

E transverse to the

waveguide axis, by lifting the restriction that the magnetic ﬁeld is transverse

to the direction of propagation.

To show this, we will look for the solution of the Maxwell’s equations with

E

z

= 0 that satisﬁes the good conductor boundary conditions.

The outline of the procedure is as follows:

First, using the Maxwell’s equations, we ﬁnd relations between the compo-

nents of the electric and magnetic ﬁelds. Next, we convert these relations

into a single diﬀerential (wave) equation for H

z

, the longitudinal component

of

H. Then we ﬁnd the solution of the wave equation that satisﬁes the good

conductor boundary conditions.

We proceed as follows: Since the waveguide is of a rectangular shape, we

consider the Maxwell’s equations in Cartesian coordinates.

• From III, ∇

E + µ

∂

H

∂t

= 0, we have

ˆ

i

ˆ

j

ˆ

k

∂

∂x

∂

∂y

−γ

E

x

E

y

0

+ iωµ

H = 0 .

Hence

x component : γE

y

+ iωµH

x

= 0 , (113)

y component : −γE

x

+ iωµH

y

= 0 , (114)

z component :

∂E

y

∂x

−

∂E

x

∂y

+ iωµH

z

= 0 . (115)

• From II, ∇

H = 0, we have

∂H

x

∂x

+

∂H

y

∂y

+

∂H

z

∂z

= 0 ,

275

and from the fact that ∂/∂z = −γ, we get

∂H

x

∂x

+

∂H

y

∂y

−γH

z

= 0 . (116)

• From IV, ∇

H −(σ

E + ε

∂

E

∂t

) = 0, we have

ˆ

i

ˆ

j

ˆ

k

∂

∂x

∂

∂y

−γ

H

x

H

y

H

z

−(σ + jωε)

E = 0 ,

which in terms of the components gives

∂H

z

∂y

+ γH

y

−(σ + iωε)E

x

= 0 , (117)

−γH

x

−

∂H

z

∂x

−(σ + iωε)E

y

= 0 , (118)

∂H

y

∂x

−

∂H

x

∂y

= 0 (E

z

= 0) . (119)

• From I, ∇

E = ρ/ε = 0, we have

∂E

x

∂x

+

∂E

y

∂y

= 0 (E

z

= 0) , (120)

where we have used the TE condition E

z

= 0.

We shall now express E

x

, E

y

, H

x

and H

y

in terms of H

z

to get a wave equa-

tion for H

z

.

From Eqs. (113) and (114), we get

E

x

H

y

= −

E

y

H

x

=

iωµ

γ

. (121)

Using this relation, we can then express E

x

and E

y

in terms of H

y

and H

x

and then show that Eq. (115) becomes identical to Eq. (116).

276

Thus, we use Eq. (121) in Eqs. (117) and (118). In Eq. (117) substitute

for E

x

:

∂H

z

∂y

+ γH

y

−(σ + iωε)

iωµ

γ

H

y

= 0 .

Hence

H

y

=

−1

γ −(σ + iωε)

iωµ

γ

∂H

z

∂y

=

−γ

γ

2

−iωµ(σ + iωε)

∂H

z

∂y

= −

γ

k

2

∂H

z

∂y

, (122)

where k

2

= γ

2

−iωµ(σ + iωε).

In Eq. (118) substitute for E

y

and ﬁnd

H

x

=

−γ

γ

2

−iωµ(σ + iωε)

∂H

z

∂x

= −

γ

k

2

∂H

z

∂x

, (123)

Using Eqs. (121), (122), and (123), we ﬁnd that Eqs. (119) and (120) are

automatically satisﬁed.

Substituting Eqs. (122) and (123) into Eq. (116), we obtain two equations

−γ

γ

2

−iωµ(σ + iωε)

∂

2

H

z

∂x

2

,

−

γ

γ

2

−iωµ(σ + iωε)

∂

2

H

z

∂y

2

−γH

z

= 0 ,

which can be written as

∂

2

H

z

∂x

2

+

∂

2

H

z

∂y

2

+ k

2

H

z

= 0 , (124)

where k

2

= γ

2

−iωµ(σ + iωε).

We have obtained the wave equation for H

z

which we will solve assuming the

good conductor boundary conditions.

277

Now, we proceed to solve Eq. (124) for H

z

with the boundary conditions for

the ﬁeld components at the surface of a good conductor. Having H

z

, then we

can solve Eqs. (122) and (123) for H

x

and H

y

. With these solutions, we then

will be able to solve Eq. (121) for E

x

and E

y

. After that, we will know all

the ﬁeld components. In other words, we will know how the ﬁelds propagate

through the rectangular waveguide.

20.2 Boundary Conditions

Let us proceed with the steps mentioned above. First, we solve the wave

equation (124) with the known boundary conditions at the surface of a good

conductor:

1.

H normal to boundary (in xy plane) = 0.

2.

E tangential to boundary (in xy plane) = 0.

According to Figure 71: We must have at the boundaries along the x-axis,

x = 0 and x = a, the ﬁeld components H

x

= 0 and E

y

= 0. Looking at

Eq. (118), we see that this means that the derivative ∂H

z

/∂x must be equal

to zero at x = 0 and x = a.

Figure 71: Electric and magnetic ﬁeld

components at the surface of the waveguide.

Similarly, at the boundaries along

the y-axis, at y = 0 and y =

b, the ﬁeld components H

y

and E

x

must vanish, H

y

= 0 and E

x

=

0. Looking at Eq. (117), we see

that this means that the derivative

∂H

z

/∂y must be equal to zero at

the boundaries y = 0 and y =

b.

Summarizing, we see that the solu-

tion of Eq. (124), which satisﬁes these

boundary conditions is of the form

H

z

= H

0

cos(k

x

x) cos(k

y

y) e

iωt−γz

,

278

with k

x

x and k

y

y satisfying the standing wave conditions:

k

x

a = mπ and k

y

b = nπ .

Hence, possible values for H

z

inside the waveguide are

H

z

= H

0

cos

mπx

a

cos

nπy

b

e

iωt−γz

, (125)

where m, n = 0, 1, 2 . . ..

An (m, n) combination of the integer numbers represents a possible TE mode

of propagation. The modes are designated in the form TE

mn

.

What left is to determine the coeﬃcient γ. With the solution (125), the wave

equation (124) gives a condition for k:

¸

−

mπ

a

2

−

nπ

b

2

+ k

2

¸

H

z

= 0 .

For a non-trivial solution, H

z

= 0, and then

k

2

=

mπ

a

2

+

nπ

b

2

.

Since that on the other hand

k

2

= γ

2

−iµω(σ + iεω) ,

we ﬁnd that

γ

2

=

mπ

a

2

+

nπ

b

2

+ iµω(σ + iεω) . (126)

We see that in general the propagation constant γ is a complex number. We

can write γ = β + iα. Then the solution (125) takes the form

H

z

= H

0

cos

mπx

a

cos

nπy

b

e

−βz

e

i(ωt−αz)

.

Thus, α = 2π/λ

g

, where λ

g

is the wavelength in the waveguide at frequency ω.

The phase velocity in the waveguide is v

p

= ω/α.

The parameter β is the attenuation coeﬃcient describing losses in the waveg-

uide. Energy loss may be due to:

279

• Ohmic resistivity (σ of the medium ﬁnite).

• Dielectric losses (described by ε having an imaginary component)

• Magnetic losses (described by µ having an imaginary component)

20.3 TE Modes in a Lossless Waveguide

Suppose that the interior of the waveguide is ﬁlled with a perfect dielectric,

i.e. we assume a lossless propagation for which we have σ = 0 and ε and µ

both purely real. In this case, we ﬁnd from Eq. (126) that

γ

2

= −εµω

2

+

mπ

a

2

+

nπ

b

2

,

or introducing the phase velocity, we obtain

γ

2

= −

ω

2

v

2

0

+

mπ

a

2

+

nπ

b

2

where v

0

= 1/

√

εµ is the phase velocity of propagation of waves in an

inﬁnite (unbounded) medium of the type ﬁlling the waveguide.

It is convenient to express γ

2

in terms of the wavelength of the input wave.

Since

ω

v

0

=

2πf

fλ

0

=

2π

λ

0

,

where λ

0

is wavelength of the input wave, or equivalently, the inﬁnite size

medium wavelength, we can write the expression for γ

2

as

γ

2

= −

2π

λ

0

2

+

mπ

a

2

+

nπ

b

2

.

One can see that the parameter γ

2

can be negative or positive even after

all the assumptions of a lossless propagation. The nature of the propaga-

tion depends on the size of the cross section of the waveguide, and changes

according as:

280

1. Assume that γ

2

negative. In this case, γ is purely imaginary, and we

have a propagating wave

H

z

= H

0

cos

mπx

a

cos

nπy

b

e

i(ωt−kgz)

,

where we have put γ = ik

g

, with k

g

the guide propagation constant.

The wave then propagates with a guide wavelength λ

g

given by

2π

λ

g

= k

g

=

2π

λ

0

2

−

mπ

a

2

−

nπ

b

2

.

There is a maximum wavelength λ

0

(= λ

c

say) such that k

g

is real

1

λ

2

c

=

m

2a

2

+

n

2b

2

.

Thus, there is a minimum frequency f

mn

such that the TE

mn

mode will

propagate down the waveguide

f

mn

= v

m

m

2a

2

+

n

2b

2

.

This can be derived from the cut-oﬀ condition f

mn

λ

c

= v

m

.

Thus, the waveguide acts as a high-pass ﬁlter for any (m, n) mode.

2. Consider γ

2

positive. Then γ = β say is purely real and

H

z

= H

0

cos

mπx

a

cos

nπy

b

e

−βz

e

iωt

.

There is no phase propagation but amplitude attenuation. Note there

is no energy loss mechanism available. This is an evanescent mode

at frequencies less that f

mn

analogous to the case of total internal

reﬂection.

Field components in the TE modes.

Since

H

z

∼ cos

mπx

a

cos

nπy

b

e

iωt−γz

,

281

we ﬁnd from Eq. (122) the H

y

component of the ﬁeld

H

y

∼

∂H

z

∂y

∼ cos

mπx

a

sin

nπy

b

e

iωt−γz

.

Then from Eq. (123), we ﬁnd the H

x

component

H

x

∼

∂H

z

∂x

∼ sin

mπx

a

cos

nπy

b

e

iωt−γz

.

Next, from Eq. (121), we ﬁnd the components of the electric ﬁeld

E

x

∼ H

y

∼ cos

mπx

a

sin

nπy

b

e

iωt−γz

,

and

E

y

∼ H

x

∼ sin

mπx

a

cos

nπy

b

e

iωt−γz

.

We see from the above equations that the mode m = n = 0 is not allowed to

propagate through the waveguide, since E

x

, E

y

, H

x

and H

y

all contain sine

terms so all the ﬁeld components vanish for m = n = 0. All other TE

mn

modes are allowed.

22

TM (transverse magnetic) modes

Put H

z

= 0 and go through the whole procedure again. E

z

= 0 now. Equa-

tions analogous to Eqs. (122), (123), and (124) appear for components of

the

E vector this time. Consequently the previous discussion about modes

and their cut-oﬀ frequencies for TE modes is also true for TM modes. The

only diﬀerence is that more modes are not allowed, i.e. in contrast to the TE

propagation, TM modes with either m = 0 or n = 0 are not allowed.

23

22

The mode m = n = 0 is never possible in a transmission line consisting of a single

closed conductor like a rectangular waveguide. It is possible in 2-conductor lines e.g. the

coaxial line or the twin wire transmission line.

23

This is an interesting diﬀerence between properties the TE and TM modes, and the

student is encourage to analyze, as a tutorial problem, where the diﬀerence is coming from.

282

Special properties of the TE

10

mode

We now proceed to discuss interesting properties of some of the propagating

modes. For example, If the transverse dimensions of the rectangular waveg-

uide are diﬀerent (a = b) there is a ﬁnite range of frequencies over which the

TE

10

mode is the only allowed mode.

Figure 72: Electric and magnetic ﬁelds

of the TE

10

mode.

This means that a waveguide can be

designed to allow propagation in one

mode only. In other words, it can work

as a frequency ﬁlter transmitting non-

degenerate modes. To show this, con-

sider the frequency of the TE

mn

mode

f

mn

= v

m

m

2a

2

+

n

2b

2

,

from which we ﬁnd that frequencies

of two neighbouring modes TE

10

and

TE

01

are

f

10

=

v

m

2a

< f

01

=

v

m

2b

,

where we adopt the convention that a > b. Thus, in the frequency range

from f

10

→f

01

, the TE

10

mode is the only mode allowed.

20.4 Phase and Group Velocities of Mode Propagation

Consider the velocity with which the wave propagates inside the waveguide.

We look into the phase velocity, the velocity the wave front propagates

v

p

= fλ

g

=

ω

k

g

=

ω

2π

λ

0

2

−

mπ

a

2

−

nπ

b

2

.

Thus

v

p

=

v

0

1 −

mλ

0

2a

2

−

nλ

0

2b

2

,

283

where v

0

is the phase velocity in the unbounded medium.

We see that the phase velocity of the wave inside the waveguide is greater

than in an unbounded medium, and so may be greater than the speed of

light in vacuum.

Alternately, we could write

mπ

a

2

+

nπ

b

2

=

2π

λ

c

2

= k

2

c

,

where λ

c

is the inﬁnite medium wavelength at the cut-oﬀ frequency for

the m, n mode. Then

v

p

=

ω

k

2

0

−k

2

c

=

ω

k

0

1 −

kc

k

0

2

=

v

0

1 −

ωc

ω

2

, (127)

provided ω > ω

c

i.e. in the pass-band for that mode.

Note that for ω →ω

c

, the phase velocity v

p

→∞. Moreover, if a vacuum or

air ﬁlls the waveguide then v

0

= c and v

p

> c.

The group velocity

Since v

p

> c typically, we see that the phase velocity v

p

is not the velocity

of propagation of energy or information down the waveguide. It is prop-

agated with the group velocity which is smaller than the phase velocity if

the medium is dispersive. When dispersion is not present, phase and group

velocities are equal. According to Eq. (127), the waveguide is a dispersive

medium, since the phase velocity depends on frequency, so the energy or

information is propagated with the group velocity v

g

= dω/dk

g

that diﬀers

from the phase velocity v

p

= ω/k

g

.

Just a brief explanation how do we deﬁne the group velocity. The group

velocity is the velocity of propagation of some modulation of multi-frequency

wave that carries information. A single frequency harmonic wave carries no

information. It is just there. A ﬁnite bandwidth is required to carry infor-

mation.

284

We can illustrate the concept of group velocity by considering a sum of two

cosine waves of slightly diﬀerent frequencies, ω and ω + dω:

cos(ωt −kz) + cos[(ω + dω)t −(k + dk)z]

= 2 cos

dω

2

t −

dk

2

z

cos

¸

2ω + dω

2

t −

2k + dk

2

z

¸

= 2 cos

dω

2

t −

dk

2

z

cos(ωt −kz) ,

where we have assumed that dω <2ω and dk <2k.

The velocity of the amplitude modulation is

v

g

=

dω

2

dk

2

=

dω

dk

.

In the rectangular waveguide

k

g

=

2π

λ

g

=

k

2

0

−k

2

c

=

ω

2

−ω

2

c

v

m

,

where k

0

= ω/v

m

and k

c

= ω

c

/v

m

.

Remember, v

m

is the inﬁnite medium phase velocity and ω

c

is the cut-oﬀ

(angular) frequency of the (m, n) mode. Then diﬀerentiating

dk

g

dω

=

1

v

m

1

2

(ω

2

−ω

2

c

)

−

1

2

2ω =

ω

v

m

ω

2

−ω

2

c

.

Finally

v

g

=

dω

dk

g

=

v

m

ω

2

−ω

2

c

ω

= v

m

1 −

ω

c

ω

2

< v

m

.

Thus, the group velocity of a wave propagating inside the waveguide is smaller

than the phase velocity. Moreover

v

g

v

p

= v

m

1 −

ω

c

ω

2

v

m

1 −

ωc

ω

2

= v

2

m

.

285

In a vacuum-ﬁlled waveguide v

g

v

p

= c

2

. Thus, relativity is still all right.

Revision questions

Question 1. Explain what is meant by TE and TM waves.

Question 2. Explain brieﬂy the procedure of ﬁnding the components of the elec-

tric and magnetic ﬁelds transmitted through a waveguide.

Question 3. Why a TEM wave cannot be transmitted through a rectangular

waveguide?

Question 4. Explain the notation, what does it mean TE

mn

?

Question 5. Explain, how a waveguide can work as a frequency ﬁlter.

Question 6. Deﬁne the phase and group velocities and the relation between them.

Question 7. In a vacuum waveguide the phase velocity of an EM wave is greater

than speed of light: True or false?

286

21 Relativistic Transformation of the Elec-

tromagnetic Field

The ﬁnal part of the course is devoted to relativistic eﬀects in the EM theory.

Using the argument that the Maxwell’s equations, as physical observables,

are invariant under the Lorentz transformation, we shall show how the ﬁelds

transform according to the relativistic rules. Then, we will illustrate on few

examples, how the ﬁelds change when one goes between diﬀerent inertial

frames and how this aﬀects propagation of an EM wave. Finally, we show

how frequency and energy transform according to the transformation rules

and point out the evidence of the dependence of the energy on frequency.

21.1 The Principle of Relativity

We begin from the recollection of the principles of relativity.

1. The laws of physics are the same in all inertial reference frames.

2. The speed of light in vacuum is independent of the uniform motion of

the observer or source.

The constancy of the velocity of light, independent of the motion of the

source, gives rise to the relations between space and time coordinates in dif-

ferent inertial reference frames known as Lorentz transformations.

Consider a stationary reference frame S and a inertial frame S

moving with a

velocity u parallel to the x axis, i.e. u = u

ˆ

i. The time and space coordinates

in S

**are related to those in S by the Lorentz transformations
**

x

= γ(x −βct) ,

y

= y ,

z

= z ,

ct

= γ(ct −βx) ,

where γ = (1 −β

2

)

−1/2

is the Lorentz factor, and β = u/c.

287

The above transformation corresponds to a situation of u parallel to the x

axis. If the axis in S and S

remain parallel, but the velocity u of the frame S

**is in an arbitrary direction, the generalization of the above transformations is
**

r

= r + (γ −1)

(r

β)

β

β

2

−γ

βct ,

ct

= γ

ct −

β r

,

where

β = u/c.

Proof:

Decompose the vector r into two components: parallel and normal to u

r = r

+r

⊥

.

Then, using the one dimensional Lorentz transformations, we have

r

= γ

r

−

βct

,

r

⊥

= r

⊥

.

However, we can write the parallel and normal components as

r

=

(r

β)

β

β

2

r

⊥

= r −r

.

Hence

r

= r

+r

⊥

= γ

r

−

βct

+r −r

= r + (γ −1)

(r

β)

β

β

2

−γ

βct .

The transformation of time can be proved in the similar way. Since

ct

= γ

ct −βr

,

and

βr

=

β r

=

(r

β)

β

2

β

β = r

β ,

288

we obtain

ct

= γ

ct −

β r

,

as required.

We will need the inverse Lorentz transformations, which are

r = r

+ (γ −1)

(r

β)

β

β

2

+ γ

βct

,

ct = γ

ct

+

β r

.

Note that r is a function of r

and t

.

The principle of relativity indicates, and we have showed it explicitly in

Chap. 7, that the Maxwell equations are invariant under the Lorentz

transformation. The same rule applies to the continuity equation.

Thus, the Maxwell’s equations together with the continuity equation have

the same form in two diﬀerent inertial frames.

If in the frame S:

∇

D = ρ , ∇

B = 0 ,

∇

E = −

∂

B

∂t

, ∇

H =

J +

∂

D

∂t

,

∇

J = −

∂ρ

∂t

,

then in the frame S

:

∇

D

= ρ

, ∇

B

= 0 ,

∇

E

= −

∂

B

∂t

, ∇

H

=

J

+

∂

D

∂t

,

∇

J

= −

∂ρ

∂t

,

where the prime variables are functions of the transformed variables, t

and r

.

289

Of course, the EM ﬁelds together with the current and charge densities in

the S

**frame must be diﬀerent from that in the S frame in order to match the
**

same Maxwell equations. From this, an interesting question arises: What are

the relations between the EM ﬁelds, charge and current densities in the S

and S frames?

In order to answer this question, we have to ﬁnd the transformation of a

time derivative of an arbitrary scalar function Ψ, and the transformation of

divergence ∇

F.

Consider the transformation of a time derivative ∂Ψ/∂(ct)

∂Ψ

∂(ct)

=

∂Ψ

∂(ct

)

∂ct

∂(ct)

+

∂Ψ

∂x

∂x

∂(ct)

+

∂Ψ

∂y

∂y

∂(ct)

+

∂Ψ

∂z

∂z

∂(ct)

=

∂Ψ

∂(ct

)

∂ct

∂(ct)

+∇

Ψ

∂r

∂(ct)

.

However

∂ct

∂(ct)

= γ ,

∂r

∂(ct)

= −γ

β ,

which gives

∂Ψ

∂(ct)

= γ

∂

∂(ct

)

−

β ∇

Ψ .

Consider now the divergence

∇

F =

∂F

x

∂x

+

∂F

y

∂y

+

∂F

z

∂z

.

Since

∂F

x

∂x

=

∂F

x

∂(ct

)

∂ct

∂x

+

∂F

x

∂x

∂x

∂x

+

∂F

x

∂y

∂y

∂x

+

∂F

x

∂z

∂z

∂x

,

and

∂ct

∂x

= −γβ

x

,

290

∂x

∂x

= 1 + (γ −1)

β

2

x

β

2

,

∂y

∂x

=

∂z

∂x

= 0 ,

we obtain

∂F

x

∂x

= −γβ

x

∂F

x

∂(ct

)

+ α

x

∂F

x

∂x

,

where

α

x

= 1 + (γ −1)β

2

x

/β

2

.

Similarly, for F

y

and F

z

, and ﬁnally we get

∇

F = ¯ α ∗ (∇

F) −γ

β

∂

F

∂(ct

)

,

where ¯ α is a 3 3 diagonal matrix

¯ α =

1 + (γ −1)

β

2

x

β

2

0 0

0 1 + (γ −1)

β

2

y

β

2

0

0 0 1 + (γ −1)

β

2

z

β

2

,

as required.

Using the above transformations, we can derive transformations for the cur-

rent density

J and the charge density ρ.

In order to do it, we consider the continuity equation, that can be written as

∇

J = −

∂cρ

∂(ct)

.

Hence

¯ α ∗ (∇

J) −γ

β

∂

J

∂(ct

)

= −γ

∂

∂(ct

)

−

β ∇

cρ ,

or

∇

(¯ α ∗

J) −γ

β ∇

(cρ) = −γ

∂

∂(ct

)

cρ −

β

J

.

291

Since

β ∇

(cρ) = ∇

(cρ

β) ,

we obtain

∇

¯ α ∗

J −γcρ

β

= −

∂

∂(ct

)

γ

cρ −

β

J

.

Thus, the continuity equation will be invariant under the Lorentz transfor-

mation if

cρ

= γ

cρ −

β

J

,

J

= ¯ α ∗

J −γcρ

β . (128)

In order to understand the physical meaning of these equations, consider the

following example.

Example

Assume that in the S frame there is a stationary volume charge of density

ρ = 0. Since ρ is stationary, there are no currents in the S frame (

J = 0).

What are the charge and current densities as seen in the S

frame?

In the S frame

J = 0 , ρ = 0 .

According to Eq. (128), in the S

frame

J

= −γcρ

β , ρ

= γρ .

Thus, there is a current in the S

frame. As seen from S

**a given part of the
**

charge is length contracted in the direction of motion so the charge density

is correspondingly increased by the factor γ > 1. The length contracted

charge density appears from S

**to move in the opposite direction. We can
**

understand this result: The stationary charge in the S frame moves with

velocity −u in the S

**frame. This eﬀect is predicted by the Galileo transfor-
**

mation.

292

Less obvious and more interesting is the following situation. Let’s in the S

frame one observes

J = 0 , ρ = 0 .

Then, according to Eq. (128), someone will see a non-zero charge density

ρ

= 0 in the S

frame.

This is a pure relativistic eﬀect, which cannot be predicted by the Galileo

transformation. Note, the charge ρ

is proportional to u/c

2

.

21.2 Transformation of Electric and Magnetic Field

Components

To ﬁnd the transformation rules for electric and magnetic ﬁeld components

we will use the transformations of the time and space derivatives derived

above.

Consider two of the Maxwell equations that in the S frame are

∇

D = ρ ,

∇

H =

J +

∂

D

∂t

.

These equations should be equivalent of two equations

∇

D

= ρ

,

∇

H

=

J

+

∂

D

∂t

,

in the S

frame.

Using the transformations of the time and space derivatives, we have

¸

¯ α ∗ ∇

−γ

β

∂

∂(ct

)

¸

H −γ

∂

∂(ct

)

−

β ∇

c

D =

J ,

¸

¯ α ∗ ∇

−γ

β

∂

∂(ct

)

¸

c

D = cρ .

293

Substituting the transformations of

J and ρ, we ﬁnd that the

D and

H

vectors transform as

c

D

= γ

¯ α

−1

∗ c

D +

β

H

,

H

= γ

−

β c

D + ¯ α

−1

∗

H

, (129)

where ¯ α

−1

is the inverse of the matrix ¯ α

¯ α

−1

=

1 + (

1

γ

−1)

β

2

x

β

2

0 0

0 1 + (

1

γ

−1)

β

2

y

β

2

0

0 0 1 + (

1

γ

−1)

β

2

z

β

2

.

From the Maxwell equations

∇

B = 0 ,

∇

E = −

∂

B

∂t

,

we ﬁnd that the

E and

B vectors transform as

E

= γ

¯ α

−1

∗

E +

β c

B

c

B

= γ

−

β

E + ¯ α

−1

∗ c

B

. (130)

21.3 Transformation Rules in Terms of Parallel and

Normal Components

Suppose that the frame S

**is moving with speed u in the direction paral-
**

lel to the z axis. In this case, β

x

= β

y

= 0, β

z

= β = 0, and then the

transformations take the form

c

D

= γcD

x

ˆ

i + γcD

y

ˆ

j + cD

z

ˆ

k + γβ

ˆ

k

H ,

H

= −γβc

ˆ

k

D + γH

x

ˆ

i + γH

y

ˆ

j + H

z

ˆ

k ,

E

= γE

x

ˆ

i + γE

y

ˆ

j + E

z

ˆ

k + γcβ

ˆ

k

B ,

c

B

= −γβ

ˆ

k

E + γcB

x

ˆ

i + γcB

y

ˆ

j + cB

z

ˆ

k . (131)

294

It is useful to rephrase the transformation rules in terms of components

parallel and normal to u. The parallel components are the z components

and the normal components lie in the xy plane. For example

E =

E

⊥

+

E

=

E

x

ˆ

i + E

y

ˆ

j

+ E

z

ˆ

k ,

and the same for

D,

H and

B.

21.3.1 Rules for Parallel Components

From Eq. (131), we readily ﬁnd that

E

=

E

z

ˆ

k =

E

z

ˆ

k =

E

,

and similarly

B

=

B

,

H

=

H

,

D

=

D

.

Thus, the components parallel to the direction of u are invariant under the

transformations (129) and (130).

21.3.2 Rules for Normal Components

Consider now the components perpendicular to u:

c

D

⊥

= cD

x

ˆ

i + cD

y

ˆ

j

= γcD

x

ˆ

i + γcD

y

ˆ

j + γβH

x

ˆ

j −γβH

y

ˆ

i

= γ (cD

x

−βH

y

)

ˆ

i + γ (cD

y

+ βH

x

)

ˆ

j ,

H

⊥

= H

x

ˆ

i + H

y

ˆ

j

= γ (H

x

+ βcD

y

)

ˆ

i + γ (H

y

−βcD

x

)

ˆ

j ,

E

⊥

= E

x

ˆ

i + E

y

ˆ

j

= γ (E

x

−βcB

y

)

ˆ

i + γ (E

y

+ βcB

x

)

ˆ

j ,

295

c

B

⊥

= cB

x

ˆ

i + cB

y

ˆ

j

= γ (cB

x

+ βE

y

)

ˆ

i + γ (cB

y

−βE

x

)

ˆ

j ,

which can be written as

c

D

⊥

= γ

c

D

⊥

+

β

H

⊥

H

⊥

= γ

H

⊥

−

β c

D

⊥

E

⊥

= γ

E

⊥

+

β c

B

⊥

c

B

⊥

= γ

c

B

⊥

−

β

E

⊥

. (132)

We shall illustrate the transformation rules on the following examples:

Example 1 - purely electric ﬁeld in S

Suppose that in S, one observes

E = 0 but

B = 0.

Then from the transformation rules, in S

:

E

=

E

,

E

⊥

= γ

E

⊥

,

B

= 0 ,

B

⊥

= −

γ

c

2

u

E

⊥

.

Thus

B

=

B

⊥

= −

u

E

⊥

c

2

= −

u

E

c

2

,

since u

E

= 0.

Thus what appears to be purely an electric ﬁeld to one observer is seen as

both an electric and a magnetic ﬁeld to a second observer moving with re-

spect to the ﬁrst.

Example 2 - purely magnetic ﬁeld in S

296

Now suppose that in S, one observes

E = 0, but

B = 0.

Then using the transformation rules, in S

:

B

=

B

,

B

⊥

= γ

B

⊥

,

E

= 0 ,

E

⊥

= γu

B

⊥

.

Thus

E

=

E

⊥

= u

B

⊥

= u

B .

We see that what appears to be a purely magnetic ﬁeld for one observer will

appear to be both an electric and a magnetic ﬁeld to a relatively moving ob-

server.

This result could be used to calculate the emf in an electric dynamo from

the point of view of an observer watching the conductor move in a magnetic

ﬁeld or from the point of view of an observer moving with the conductor.

21.4 Transformation of the Components

of a Plane EM Wave

In this ﬁnal lecture of the course, we illustrate the transformation rules of

the components of a plane EM wave. We illustrate this on two examples.

Example 1

Suppose that a plane wave propagates in vacuum along the z axis. Then the

electric and magnetic ﬁelds of the wave are

E =

ˆ

iEe

i(ωt−kz)

=

ˆ

iE

0

=

ˆ

iE

x

,

B =

ˆ

jBe

i(ωt−kz)

=

ˆ

jB

0

=

ˆ

jB

y

.

Hence from the transformation rules (132), in the S

**frame moving in the
**

same direction:

E

= γ

E

0

ˆ

i −βcB

0

ˆ

i

= γ (E

0

−uB

0

)

ˆ

i ,

c

B

= γ

cB

0

ˆ

j −βE

0

ˆ

j

= γ (cB

0

−βE

0

)

ˆ

j .

297

Since in vacuum

cB

0

= E

0

,

we obtain

E

= γ

1 −

u

c

E

0

ˆ

i =

1 −

u

c

1 −

u

c

2

E

0

ˆ

i =

c −u

c + u

E

0

ˆ

i ,

and

c

B

= γ

1 −

u

c

cB

0

ˆ

j =

c −u

c + u

cB

0

ˆ

j .

Thus, we observe that the amplitudes of the ﬁelds are reduced, but the ratio

[

E

[/[

B

[ = [E

0

[/[B

0

[ is constant and independent of u, as it should be, since

speed of light is the same in all inertial frames.

This is consistent with the principle of relativity that speed of light is inde-

pendent of the motion of the observer.

Example 2

Suppose that an observer S

**moves in the direction of the electric ﬁeld of
**

an EM wave, i.e. u = u

ˆ

i, as shown in Figure 73.

Figure 73: Text

In this case

E

= E

0

ˆ

i + γβcB

0

ˆ

k =

ˆ

i + γ

u

c

ˆ

k

E

0

,

and

c

B

= γcB

0

ˆ

j .

Thus, the magnetic ﬁeld remains un-

changed, but the electric ﬁeld turns to-

wards the direction of propagation of the

wave.

298

An interesting situation occurs when the

velocity u →c. In this case, we have

γ

u

c

=

1

1 −

u

c

2

u

c

→∞ ,

and then

E

= E

ˆ

k ,

i.e. the direction of

E

becomes perpendicular to u.

However, the Poynting vector of the wave is still in the direction of u:

E

H = γ

u

c

E

0

γB

0

ˆ

k

ˆ

j = −γ

2

u

c

E

0

B

0

ˆ

i .

21.5 Doppler Eﬀect

Consider a plane wave propagating in vacuum

E(t) =

E

0

e

i(ωt−

k·r)

.

In the moving frame S

this wave will have a diﬀerent frequency ω

and the

wave vector

k

**, but the phase of the wave will remain unchanged as it is
**

invariant under the transformation, i.e.

φ = ωt −

k r = ω

t

−

k

r

.

Using the inverse Lorentz transformation

r = ¯ α ∗ r

+ γ

βct

,

ct = γ

ct

+

β r

,

we will ﬁnd the relations between ω

, ω and k

**, k that ensure the invariance
**

of the phase of the wave.

299

Thus, with the above transformations, we ﬁnd

ω

t

−

k

r

= ωt −

k r

=

ωγ

c

ct

+

β r

− ¯ α ∗

k r

−γ

k

βct

= ωγt

−γt

k u +

ωγ

c

β − ¯ α ∗

k

r

= γ

ω −

k u

t

−

ωγ

c

β − ¯ α ∗

k

r

.

Hence

ω

= γ

ω −

k u

,

k

= ¯ α ∗

k −

ωγ

c

2

u .

Consider two special cases. In the ﬁrst case, assume that the wave propagates

in vacuum,

k = (ω/c)

ˆ

k. Then

ω

= γω

1 −

u

c

cos θ

,

where θ is the angle between the direction of propagation of the wave and

the direction of the motion u.

Figure 74: Text

For the propagation direction θ = 0

ω

= ω

c −u

c + u

.

The frequency in S

**is smaller than that
**

in S, and ω

→ 0 as u → c. On the

other hand, the frequency ω

→∞ when

u →−c.

If the wave propagates in a material body,

where v

f

< c, we have

k = (ω/v

f

)

ˆ

k ,

and then the frequency in S

is

ω

= γω

1 −

u

v

f

cos θ

.

300

For the case of θ = 0

ω

= ω

1 −

u

v

f

1 −

u

c

2

.

When u = v

f

, the frequency ω

= 0, but for c > u > v

f

, we obtain that the

frequency ω

< 0.

21.6 Transformation of Energy of a Plane EM Wave

Consider an EM wave propagating in the

**k direction and an observer moving
**

in the z direction, as shown in the Figure 75.

Let

E = E

ˆ

i. Then, in the frame S

:

E

= γ

E + γ

β c

B

⊥

= γ

E + γ cos φ

β c

B .

Since

B = B

ˆ

j + B

ˆ

k (the wave propagates in the plane yz), and cB = E,

we obtain

E

= γ

E −γ cos φ βcB

ˆ

i

= γ (1 −β cos φ)

E .

Figure 75: An EM wave is propagat-

ing in the

k direction and an observer

is moving in the z direction.

Consider now energy of an electric ﬁeld

of a plane EM wave conﬁned in a vol-

ume ∆V . In the S frame

W

e

=

1

4

ε

0

E

2

0

∆V .

In the S

frame

W

e

=

1

4

ε

0

(E

0

)

2

∆V

.

However

∆V

= ∆x

∆y

∆z

.

301

Since, we have assumed that the observer (S

**frame) moves in the direction
**

of the z axis, and the wave propagates in the direction

k u = ucos φ, we

obtain

∆V

= ∆x∆y∆z

,

where

∆z

=

∆z

γ

1 −

u

c

cos φ

.

Hence

W

e

=

1

4

ε

0

E

2

0

γ

2

1 −

u

c

cos φ

2

∆V

γ

1 −

u

c

cos φ

= W

e

γ

1 −

u

c

cos φ

.

It is interesting to compare the transformation of energy with the transfor-

mation of frequency. Since

W

e

= W

e

γ

1 −

u

c

cos φ

,

and

ω

= ωγ

1 −

u

c

cos φ

,

we see that the energy and frequency transform in the similar way!

This indicates that W

e

∼ ω. Note, that a similar proportionality was pre-

dicted in quantum physics, W

e

= ¯ hω.

In the electromagnetic theory, the proportionality forms backgrounds of the

so called quantum electrodynamics.

302

Revision questions

Question 1. Are the Maxwell’s equations invariant under the Lorentz transfor-

mation? Explain.

Question 2. What are the rules for transformation of the electric and magnetic

ﬁeld components?

Question 3. What are the rules for transformation of the components of an EM

wave?

Question 4. What is Doppler eﬀect?

Question 5. How does the energy of an EM wave transform in the relativistic

case?

303

Tutorial problems

Problem 21.1 A relativistic linear dynamo

Figure 76:

A linear dynamo is constructed using a hor-

izontal U-shaped or rectangular section of

wire with one side moving at speed v =

dx

dt

in a vertical magnetic ﬁeld

B as shown in

Figure 76.

The rectangle has width . The dynamo is

relativistic in that v may be comparable to c.

The general deﬁnition of emf round a cir-

cuit is:

c = W =

F

q

d

=

(

E +v

B) d

.

(a) Calculate the emf induced along the moving arm:

(i) In the frame of reference in which the U-shaped section is

at rest.

(ii) In the frame of reference in which the slide-wire is at rest.

Do you arrive at the same value of emf in each frame? If not,

does that bother you?

(b) In practice, emf ’s are usually calculated using Faraday’s Flux

Cutting Rule because it is the simplest way mathematically. The

ﬂux cutting rule c = −

dΦ

dt

may be thought of as an integral of the

Maxwell equation ∇

E = −

∂

B

∂t

. Now Maxwell’s equations are

supposed be ‘relativistically correct’, i.e. they take the same form

in all inertial frames of reference. Show that the ﬂux cutting rule

holds in both reference frames mentioned above.

Problem 21.2 Plane wave propagating in a material

Suppose that a plane wave propagates in a material with ε = ε

0

and µ = µ

0

. Show that in the frame S

**, moving with velocity u
**

304

in the direction of propagation of the wave (z-axis), the ratio

[

E

[/[

H

**[ depends on the velocity u.
**

Problem 21.3 Electric and magnetic ﬁelds in a moving frame

Suppose that in a stationary frame S one has measured an uniform

electric ﬁeld

E = E

0

ˆ

i and an uniform magnetic ﬁeld

B = B

0

ˆ

j,

such that cB

0

> E

0

.

Is it possible to ﬁnd a frame S

**moving along the z-axis in which
**

one could not measure either

E

or

B

?

If yes, ﬁnd the amplitude of the measured ﬁeld and the veloc-

ity u of the frame S

.

305

Revision Questions for the Final Examination

Question 4.1 Prove that the total electric ﬂux through a closed surface S is

proportional to the total charge inside the surface.

Question 4.2 Prove the Amperes circuit law.

Question 4.3 Derive the integral form of the Faraday’s law and then transform

it into the diﬀerential form

∇

E = −

∂

B

∂t

.

Question 5.1 Starting from the Maxwell’s equations derive the continuity equa-

tion, i.e. show that conservation of charge is built into the Maxwell’s

equations.

Question 6.1 Using the Maxwell’s equations show that

B satisﬁes the same

wave equation as

E.

Question 6.2 Show, using the proof of solution of the wave equation, that

f(z +ct) represents a signal propagating in the negative z direc-

tion with speed c.

Question 7.1 Show that magnetic and electric ﬁelds of a charge moving with a

constant velocity v are related by

B =

v

E

c

2

.

Question 7.2 Show that the magnetic ﬁeld lines produced by a charge moving

with a constant velocity v form concentric rings about v.

Question 7.3 Show that the electric ﬁeld produced by a moving charge satisﬁes

the Gauss’s law.

Question 7.4 Explain the statement: Electric and magnetic ﬁelds do not pro-

duce each other - they are both due to electric charges.

306

Question 8.1 Using the Maxwell’s equations derive the continuity equation for

the Poynting vector.

Question 8.2 Show, using the ﬁeld theory calculation, that the power dissipated

along a resistive wire is P = V I, the same predicted by the circuit

theory.

Question 9.1 (a) Obtain a series solution of the Laplace equation in the cartesian

coordinates for the electrostatic potential inside a closed three di-

mensional area.

(b) What would be the solution of the Laplace equation for a

closed two dimensional problem.

Question 9.2 Consider a conducting sphere of radius R. The surface of the

sphere is kept at a potential

Φ(R, θ, φ) = V

0

sin θ sin φ .

Using the above as a boundary condition, ﬁnd the potential at

any point inside the sphere.

Question 10.1 Show that in general the Maxwell’s equations cannot be simpli-

ﬁed to two separate diﬀerential equations for the

E and

B ﬁelds.

Then show that by introducing the concept of vector and scalar

potentials one can arrive to diﬀerential equations for

A and Φ

that can be separated from each other under the Lorenz gauge.

Question 10.2 Explain, why the Coulomb gauge is often called ”Transverse

gauge”.

Question 10.3 Prove that the homogeneous wave equation

∇

2

Φ −

1

c

2

∂

2

Φ

∂t

2

= 0

has the solution of the form

Φ(r, t) =

f(t −r/c)

r

,

307

where f(t − r/c) is an arbitrary function of the retarded time

t −r/c.

Question 11.1 Show that in spherical polar coordinates, the magnetic ﬁeld of a

short current element I

∆l =

∆lI

0

exp(iωt) has only an azimuthal

component of the form

B =

I

0

∆l

4πε

0

c

2

¸

ik

r

+

1

r

2

sin θ e

i(ωt−kr)

ˆ

φ .

Question 11.2 Show that in the far ﬁeld zone of a radiating short current ele-

ment, the electric and magnetic ﬁelds oscillate in phase and are

orthogonal to each other.

Question 11.3 (a) Given the expressions for the EM ﬁeld of a Hertzian dipole,

show that the total radiated power from the dipole is

W =

πI

2

0

3ε

0

c

¸

∆l

λ

2

.

(b) Show that the emitted power is equivalent to the power lost

on a resistor of resistance

R = 80π

2

¸

∆l

λ

2

.

Question 11.4 Show that the time averaged Poynting vector of the EM ﬁeld

emitted by a short current element is maximal in the equatorial

plane of the element.

Question 12.1 Show that the electrostatic potential due to a distribution of elec-

tric dipoles of moment per unit volume

P throughout a volume V

enclosed by a surface S is that of a volume charge density −∇

P

together with a surface charge density

P ˆ n.

Question 12.2 Illustrate the Lorentz theory of polarizability of dense dielec-

tric materials and derive the Caussius-Mossotti relationship for a

dense dielectric.

Question 12.3 Show that the polarization of a dielectric driven by a time varying

electric ﬁeld lags in phase the driving ﬁeld.

308

Then show that the phase diﬀerence between the polarization and

a time-varying electric ﬁeld results in a complex permittivity of

the dielectric.

Question 13.1 Explain the concept and advantage of introducing the magnetic

intensity vector

H.

Question 13.2 Show that inside a ferromagnet H = 0 and explain the physical

meaning of this result.

Question 13.3 Derive the Maxwell’s equations for the EM ﬁelds in electric and

magnetic materials.

Question 14.1 (a) Derive the special form of Poynting’s Theorem applicable in

certain material media

S

(

E

H) d

S = −

H

∂

B

∂t

dV −

E

∂

D

∂t

dV −

E

J dV .

(b) Interpret the above equation in terms of energy storage and

energy ﬂow etc.

(c) State qualitative meaning of each term in the equation.

Question 14.2 Prove that the useful formula for the mean Poynting vector for

sinusoidal ﬁelds is

¯

N =

1

2

Re

E

c

H

∗

c

,

where

E

c

=

E

0

exp(iωt) and

H

∗

c

=

H

∗

0

exp(−iωt).

Question 15.1 Show that the amplitude of a plane wave propagating in a non-

conducting material is damped with the rate β which arises from

the imaginary parts of the complex permittivity and permeability.

Question 15.2 Derive the expressions for the attenuation coeﬃcient and the

phase velocity of an EM wave propagating in a conducting medium.

What are the values of the quantities for a propagation inside a

309

good conductor?

Question 15.3 Show that in a good conductor an EM wave propagates on the

surface of the conductor.

Question 16.1 Prove the following boundary conditions at a bounding surface

between two dielectrics:

(a) The normal component of

B is continuous across the bound-

ary.

(b) The tangential component of

E is continuous across the bound-

ary.

(c) The tangential component of

H is continuous across the bound-

ary.

Question 17.1 Show, using the Maxwell’s equations that the electric and mag-

netic vectors of an EM wave are related by

H =

B

µ

=

k

ωµ

ˆ n

p

E ,

where ˆ n

p

is the unit vector in the direction of propagation of the

wave.

Question 17.2 Prove that in the reﬂection and refraction at a bounding surface,

the direction of incident, reﬂected and refracted waves are copla-

nar.

Question 17.3 Derive the familiar laws of elementary optics:

(a) Angle of reﬂection equals to the angle of incidence.

(b) Snell’s law of refraction.

Question 17.4 Show, using the continuity conditions for

E and

H that both

reﬂection and refraction takes place in the incidence of light on a

boundary between two dielectrics.

310

Question 19.1 Show that under the Brewster’s angle of incidence there is no

reﬂected electric ﬁeld in the plane of the incidence.

Question 20.2 Show that in a vacuum-ﬁlled rectangular waveguide v

p

> c, and

v

g

v

p

= c

2

.

Question 21.1 Find the condition under which the continuity equation for ρ

and

J is invariant under the Lorentz transformation.

Question 21.2 Show that electric charge Q is invariant under the Lorentz trans-

formation.

311

Appendix A: Proof of the Amperes Law

Consider a long wire of radius a carrying current I. Let P is a point on the

integration path, as shown in Figure 77.

Figure 77: The source circuit and the integration path to prove the Ampere law.

The magnetic ﬁeld at P is

B =

µ

0

I

4π

s

ds (−ˆ r)

r

2

.

Moving P by d

is equivalent to moving the current circuit by −d

.

The solid angle subtended by −d

, ds at P is:

(−d

ds) ˆ r

r

2

=

−d

ds ˆ r

r

2

= d

ds −ˆ r

r

2

.

(The element of area normal to ˆ r is −d

s ˆ r)

Thus due to the path element d

**, the change in solid angle subtended at P
**

by the circuit is:

dΩ = d

s

ds (−ˆ r)

r

2

.

312

Hence

dΩ = d

4π

µ

0

I

s

d

B =

4π

µ

0

I

B d

,

where integration is around the circuit s giving the magnetic ﬁeld

B at some

point P as shown in the diagram.

Now integrating round the closed path:

B d

=

µ

0

4π

I

dΩ .

If P moves round a closed path (returning to its original position but not

circulating through the current loop:

dΩ = 0 .

But if P circulates through the loop:

dΩ = 4π ,

and then

B d

=

µ

0

4π

I 4π = µ

0

I .

We conclude that the line integral of the magnetic ﬁeld round a closed loop

path is equal to µ

0

I, where I is the current passing through the loop.

313

Appendix B

Proof of the vector theorem, Eq. (73):

−

V

∇

M

R

dV =

S

M ˆ n

R

dS .

This is an application of the more general theorem

−

V

∇

F dV =

S

F ˆ n dS .

Let

C be a constant vector. Then

∇ (

F

C) = (∇

F)

C −(∇

C)

F =

C (∇

F) . (133)

We will prove the general theorem by using the divergence theorem

V

∇ (

F

C) dV =

S

(

F

C) ˆ n dS .

For an arbitrary constant vector

C, and using (133), we get

C

V

∇

F dV =

V

C ∇

F dV

=

V

∇ (

F

C) dV =

S

F

C ˆ n dS .

Hence

C

V

∇

F dV = −

S

C

F ˆ n dS .

However

C

F ˆ n =

C

F ˆ n

and then we obtain

C

V

∇

F dV = −

C

S

F ˆ n dS .

Since this is true for arbitrary

C, we ﬁnally have

V

∇

F dV = −

S

F ˆ n dS ,

as required.

314

Appendix C: PHYS3050 Facts and Formulae

Gauss

Divergence Theorem :

S

F ˆ ndS =

V

∇

F dV

Stokes

s Theorem :

F d

=

S

∇

F ˆ ndS

Numerical values in SI units:

ε

0

= 8.85 10

−12

, µ

0

= 4π 10

−7

, c = 3 10

8

[ms

−1

] .

For the electron: e = 1.6 10

−19

[C] , m = 9.11 10

−31

[kg]

The Lorentz force law :

F = q(

E +v

B)

Coulomb

s Law :

F =

1

4πε

0

q

1

q

2

r

2

ˆ r

Biot −Savart Law : d

B =

µ

0

4π

I d

ˆ r

r

2

Gauss

Law :

E ˆ ndS =

Q

ε

0

Amp`ere

s Circuital Law :

B d

= µ

0

I

Maxwell’s Equations in vacuum:

∇

E =

ρ

ε

0

, ∇

B = 0 ,

∇

E = −

∂

B

∂t

, ∇

B = µ

0

J +

1

c

2

∂

E

∂t

.

Maxwell’s Equations in material bodies:

∇

D = ρ , ∇

H = 0 ,

∇

E = −

∂

B

∂t

, ∇

H =

J +

∂

D

∂t

.

315

Poynting vector:

N = ε

0

c

2

E

B

Poynting’s Theorem:

S

ε

0

c

2

(

E

B) ˆ ndS = −

V

E

J dV −

∂

∂t

V

1

2

ε

0

E

2

+

1

2

B

2

µ

0

dV

but in polarizable materials where it is convenient to deﬁne

D = ε

0

E +

P

and

H =

B

µ

0

−

M:

S

E

H ˆ ndS = −

V

H

∂

B

∂t

dV −

V

E

∂

D

∂t

dV −

V

E

J dV

A theorem on the calculation of the mean Poynting vector from complex

ﬁelds:

¯

N =

1

2

Re

E

c

H

∗

c

**The rate of doing work in magnetization
**

dW

dt

= H

dB

dt

and B = µ

0

(H + M).

Hemholtz Theorem: An arbitrary vector

F can be written as:

F = −

1

4π

∇

V

∇

F

r

dV +

1

4π

∇

V

∇

F

r

dV

=

F

l

+

F

t

Fields and potentials:

E = −∇Φ −

∂

A

∂t

,

B = ∇

A

316

Diﬀerential equation for the vector potential:

∇

2

A −

1

c

2

∂

2

A

∂t

2

= −µ

0

J +∇

∇

A +

1

c

2

∂Φ

∂t

**In the Lorentz gauge:
**

∇

A = −

1

c

2

∂Φ

∂t

the diﬀerential equations for the electromagnetic potentials are:

∇

2

Φ −

1

c

2

∂

2

Φ

∂t

2

= −

ρ

ε

0

∇

2

A −

1

c

2

∂

2

A

∂t

2

= −µ

0

J

and these have solutions of the form:

Φ =

1

4πε

0

ρ

r

dV

A =

1

4πε

0

c

2

J

r

dV

The ﬁeld of a Hertzian dipole:

E

r

=

I

0

∆ cos θ

4πε

0

c

¸

2

ikr

3

+

2

r

2

e

i(ωt−kr)

E

θ

=

I

0

∆ sin θ

4πε

0

c

¸

1

ikr

3

+

1

r

2

+

ik

r

¸

e

i(ωt−kr)

B

φ

=

I

0

∆ sin θ

4πε

0

c

2

¸

ik

r

+

1

r

2

¸

e

i(ωt−kr)

The mean energy ﬂux from the Hertzian dipole:

¯

N =

I

2

0

8ε

0

c

¸

∆

λ

¸

2

sin

2

θ

r

2

317

A series solution in 2 dimensions to Laplace’s equation in Cartesian coordi-

nates:

Φ(x, z) =

¸

k

[A

k

sin(αx) + B

k

cos(αx)][C

k

sinh(αz) + D

k

cosh(αz)]

A series solution in 3 dimensions to Laplace’s equation in spherical polar

coordinates:

Φ(r, θ, φ) =

¸

C

1

r

+ C

2

r

−(+1)

¸

¸

m

[a

lm

cos(mφ) + b

lm

sin(mφ)] P

m

(cos θ)

¸¸

Useful properties of trigonometrical functions:

sin(α ±β) = sin αcos β ±sin β cos α

cos(α ±β) = cos αcos β ∓sin αsin β

sin

2

α =

1

2

(1 −cos 2α)

cos

2

α =

1

2

(1 + cos 2α)

π

0

sin

3

θ dθ =

4

3

2π

0

sin(mφ) sin(nφ) dφ =

0 for m = n

π for m = n

2π

0

cos(mφ) cos(nφ) dφ =

0 for m = n

π for m = n

2π

0

sin(mφ) cos(nφ) dφ = 0 for all m and n

318

Properties of Legendry polynomials:

1

−1

P

m

l

(cos θ) P

n

k

(cos θ) d(cos θ) = 0 unless m = n and l = k

1

−1

[P

m

l

(cos θ)]

2

d(cos θ) =

2

2l + 1

(l + m)!

(l −m)!

P

0

= 1 , P

0

1

= cos θ , P

1

1

= sin θ , P

0

2

=

1

4

(3 cos(2θ) + 1) ,

P

1

2

=

3

2

sin(2θ) , P

2

2

=

3

2

(1 −cos(2θ)) ,

P

l

(1) = 1 , for all l .

A theorem on the electrostatic potential due to a distribution of electric

dipoles of moment per unit volume

P:

Φ =

1

4πε

0

S

P ˆ n

r

dS +

1

4πε

0

V

−

∇

P

r

dV

A theorem on the vector potential due to a distribution of magnetic dipoles

of moment per unit volume

M:

A =

1

4πε

0

c

2

V

∇

M

r

dV +

1

4πε

0

c

2

S

M ˆ n

r

dS

A dispersion equation:

k = ω

¸

ε

µ

−µ

¸

ε

+

σ

ω

−i

µ

¸

ε

+

σ

ω

+ ε

µ

1

2

319

The skin depth in a good conductor:

δ =

2

ωµσ

General boundary conditions:

• The normal component of

B is continuous across a boundary.

• The normal component of

D is continuous across a boundary.

• The tangential component of

E is continuous across a boundary.

• The tangential component of

H is continuous across a boundary.

Special boundary conditions at the surface between a dielectric and

a perfect conductor:

• The tangential component of

E = 0.

• The normal component of

B or

H = 0.

The Fresnel equations:

Case 1:

E normal to the plane of incidence.

Reﬂection:

E

1

=

k

1

µ

2

cos θ

i

−µ

1

k

2

2

−k

2

1

sin

2

θ

i

k

1

µ

2

cos θ

i

+ µ

1

k

2

2

−k

2

1

sin

2

θ

i

E

0

Transmission:

E

2

=

2k

1

µ

2

cos θ

i

k

1

µ

2

cos θ

i

+ µ

1

k

2

2

−k

2

1

sin

2

θ

i

E

0

Case 2:

E in the plane of incidence.

Reﬂection :

H

1

=

µ

1

k

2

2

cos θ

i

−µ

2

k

1

k

2

2

−k

2

1

sin

2

θ

i

µ

1

k

2

2

cos θ

i

+ µ

2

k

1

k

2

2

−k

2

1

sin

2

θ

i

H

0

320

Transmission:

H

2

=

2µ

1

k

2

2

cos θ

i

µ

1

k

2

2

cos θ

i

+ µ

2

k

1

k

2

2

−k

2

1

sin

2

θ

i

H

0

In dielectric media the Fresnel equations become:

Case 1:

E normal to the plane of incidence:

E

1

E

0

=

sin(θ

i

−θ

t

)

sin(θ

i

+ θ

t

)

,

E

2

E

0

=

2 cos θ

i

sin θ

t

sin(θ

i

+ θ

t

)

Case 2:

E in the plane of incidence:

E

1

E

0

=

tan(θ

i

−θ

t

)

tan(θ

i

+ θ

t

)

,

E

2

E

0

=

2 cos θ

i

cos θ

t

sin(θ

i

+ θ

t

) cos(θ

i

−θ

t

)

Rectangular waveguides:

In the propagation direction z, the ﬁelds vary as e

−γz

.

For TE modes, the longitudinal component of

H satisﬁes:

∂

2

H

z

∂x

2

+

∂

2

H

z

∂y

2

+ k

2

H

z

= 0 ,

where

k

2

= γ

2

−iωµ(σ + iωε)

Then satisfying the boundary conditions (assuming the walls are perfect con-

ductors) requires:

γ

2

=

mπ

a

2

+

nπ

b

2

+ iµω(σ + iεω)

For the lossless waveguide:

321

Cut-oﬀ frequency for the mn mode:

f

mn

= v

m

m

2a

2

+

n

2b

2

Phase velocity:

v

p

=

v

m

1 −

fc

f

2

Group velocity:

v

g

= v

m

1 −

f

c

f

2

VECTOR FORMULAS

∇(Φ + Ψ) = ∇Φ +∇Ψ

∇ (

A +

B) = ∇

A +∇

B

∇(

A +

B) = ∇

A +∇

B

∇(ΦΨ) = Φ∇Ψ + Ψ∇Φ

∇ (Φ

A) =

A ∇Φ + Φ∇

A

∇ (

A

B) =

B (∇

A) −

A (∇

B)

∇(Φ

A) = ∇Φ

A + Φ∇

A

∇(

A

B) =

A∇

B −

B∇

A + (

B ∇)

A −(

A ∇)

B

∇ ∇Φ = ∇

2

Φ

∇ (∇

A) = 0

∇∇Φ = 0

∇(∇

A) = ∇(∇

A) −∇

2

A

A (

B

C) =

B (

C

A) =

C (

A

B)

A (

B

C) =

B(

A

C) −

C(

A

B)

322

FORMS OF VECTOR OPERATIONS IN CYLINDRICAL

COORDINATES

∇Φ = ˆ ρ

∂Φ

∂ρ

+

ˆ

φ

ρ

∂Φ

∂φ

+ ˆ z

∂Φ

∂z

∇

A =

1

ρ

∂(ρA

ρ

)

∂ρ

+

1

ρ

∂A

φ

∂φ

+

∂A

z

∂z

∇

A = ˆ ρ

1

ρ

∂A

z

∂φ

−

∂A

φ

∂z

+

ˆ

φ

∂A

ρ

∂z

−

∂A

z

∂ρ

+ ˆ z

1

ρ

∂(ρA

φ

)

∂ρ

−

∂A

ρ

∂φ

∇

2

Φ =

1

ρ

∂

∂ρ

ρ

∂Φ

∂ρ

+

1

ρ

2

∂

2

Φ

∂φ

2

+

∂

2

Φ

∂z

2

VECTOR AND DIFFERENTIAL OPERATIONS IN

SPHERICAL COORDINATES

A = (A

x

sin θ cos φ + A

y

sin θ sin φ + A

z

cos θ) ˆ r

+(A

x

cos θ cos φ + A

y

cos θ sin φ −A

z

sin θ)

ˆ

θ

+(−A

x

sin φ + A

y

cos φ)

ˆ

φ

= A

r

ˆ r + A

θ

ˆ

θ + A

φ

ˆ

φ

∇Φ =

∂Φ

∂r

ˆ r +

1

r

∂Φ

∂θ

ˆ

θ +

1

r sin θ

∂Φ

∂φ

ˆ

φ

323

∇

A =

1

r

2

∂ (r

2

A

r

)

∂r

+

1

r sin θ

∂ (sin θA

θ

)

∂θ

+

1

r sin θ

∂A

φ

∂φ

∇

A =

ˆ r

r sin θ

¸

∂ (sin θA

φ

)

∂θ

−

∂A

θ

∂φ

¸

+

ˆ

θ

r

¸

1

sin θ

∂A

r

∂φ

−

∂ (rA

φ

)

∂r

¸

+

ˆ

φ

r

¸

∂ (rA

θ

)

∂r

−

∂A

r

∂θ

¸

∇

2

Φ =

1

r

2

∂

∂r

r

2

∂Φ

∂r

+

1

r

2

sin θ

∂

∂θ

sin θ

∂Φ

∂θ

+

1

r

2

sin

2

θ

∂

2

Φ

∂φ

2

324

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