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Classical Electromagnetism - Fitzpatrick|Views: 19|Likes: 0

Published by Alvaro Andres

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https://www.scribd.com/doc/99649621/Classical-Electromagnetism-Fitzpatrick

09/21/2013

text

original

Electric and magnetic ﬁelds can be written in terms of scalar and vector poten-

tials, as follows:

E =* − *φ*−* ∂A

∂t ,

B =* ∧*A.

(3.187)

However, this prescription is not unique. There are many diﬀerent potentials

which generate the same ﬁelds. We have come across this problem before. It

is called gauge invariance. The most general transformation which leaves the E

and B ﬁelds unchanged in Eqs. (3.187) is

φ* →* φ+ ∂ψ

∂t ,

A* →* A*− *ψ.

(3.188)

105

This is clearly a generalization of the gauge transformation which we found earlier

for static ﬁelds:

φ* →* φ+c,

A* →* A*− *ψ,

(3.189)

where c is a constant. In fact, if ψ(r,t)*→*ψ(r) +ct then Eqs. (3.188) reduce to

Eqs. (3.189).

We are free to choose the gauge so as to make our equations as simple as

possible. As before, the most sensible gauge for the scalar potential is to make it

go to zero at inﬁnity:

φ(r)*→*0 as* |*r*|→∞*.

(3.190)

For steady ﬁelds we found that the optimum gauge for the vector potential was

the so called Coulomb gauge:

* ·*A = 0.

(3.191)

We can still use this gauge for non-steady ﬁelds. The argument which we gave

earlier (see Section 3.11), that it is always possible to transform away the di-

vergence of a vector potential, remains valid. One of the nice features of the

Coulomb gauge is that when we write the electric ﬁeld,

E =*− *φ*−* ∂A

∂t ,

(3.192)

we ﬁnd that the part which is generated by charges (i.e., the ﬁrst term on the

right-hand side) is conservative and the part induced by magnetic ﬁelds (i.e.,

the second term on the right-hand side) is purely solenoidal. Earlier on, we

proved mathematically that a general vector ﬁeld can be written as the sum of

a conservative ﬁeld and a solenoidal ﬁeld (see Section 3.10). Now we are ﬁnding

that when we split up the electric ﬁeld in this manner the two ﬁelds have diﬀerent

physical origins: the conservative part of the ﬁeld emanates from electric charges

whereas the solenoidal part is induced by magnetic ﬁelds.

Equation (3.192) can be combined with the ﬁeld equation

* ·*E = ρ

0

(3.193)

106

(which remains valid for non-steady ﬁelds) to give

*− *2

φ*−* ∂* ·*A

∂t = ρ

0

.

(3.194)

With the Coulomb gauge condition,* ·*A = 0, the above expression reduces to

* *2

φ =*−*ρ

0

,

(3.195)

which is just Poisson’s equation. Thus, we can immediately write down an ex-

pression for the scalar potential generated by non-steady ﬁelds. It is exactly the

same as our previous expression for the scalar potential generated by steady ﬁelds,

namely

φ(r,t) = 1

4π 0

ρ(r ,t)

*|*r*−*r *|*d3

r .

(3.196)

However, this apparently simple result is extremely deceptive. Equation (3.196)

is a typical action at a distance law. If the charge density changes suddenly at

r then the potential at r responds immediately. However, we shall see later that

the full time dependent Maxwell’s equations only allow information to propagate

at the speed of light (i.e., they do not violate relativity). How can these two

statements be reconciled? The crucial point is that the scalar potential cannot

be measured directly, it can only be inferred from the electric ﬁeld. In the time

dependent case there are two parts to the electric ﬁeld; that part which comes

from the scalar potential, and that part which comes from the vector potential [see

Eq. (3.192)]. So, if the scalar potential responds immediately to some distance

rearrangement of charge density it does not necessarily follow that the electric

ﬁeld also has an immediate response. What actually happens is that the change in

the part of the electric ﬁeld which comes from the scalar potential is balanced by

an equal and opposite change in the part which comes from the vector potential,

so that the overall electric ﬁeld remains unchanged. This state of aﬀairs persists

at least until suﬃcient time has elapsed for a light ray to travel from the distant

charges to the region in question. Thus, relativity is not violated since it is

the electric ﬁeld, and not the scalar potential, which carries physically accessible

information.

It is clear that the apparent action at a distance nature of Eq. (3.196) is

highly misleading. This suggests, very strongly, that the Coulomb gauge is not

107

the optimum gauge in the time dependent case. A more sensible choice is the so

called “Lorentz gauge”:

* ·*A =*−* 0µ0

∂φ

∂t .

(3.197)

It can be shown, by analogy with earlier arguments (see Section 3.11), that it is

always possible to make a gauge transformation, at a given instance in time, such

that the above equation is satisﬁed. Substituting the Lorentz gauge condition

into Eq. (3.194), we obtain

0µ0

∂2

φ

∂t2* − *2

φ = ρ

0

.

(3.198)

It turns out that this is a three dimensional wave equation in which information

propagates at the speed of light. But, more of this later. Note that the magneti-

cally induced part of the electric ﬁeld (i.e.,* −*∂A/∂t) is not purely solenoidal in

the Lorentz gauge. This is a slight disadvantage of the Lorentz gauge with respect

to the Coulomb gauge. However, this disadvantage is more than oﬀset by other

advantages which will become apparent presently. Incidentally, the fact that the

part of the electric ﬁeld which we ascribe to magnetic induction changes when

we change the gauge suggests that the separation of the ﬁeld into magnetically

induced and charge induced components is not unique in the general time varying

case (i.e., it is a convention).

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