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Electricity and Magnetism II - Homework Assignment 3

Alejandro G´omez Espinosa

February 20, 2013
Jackson, 7.13 A stylized model of the ionosphere is a medium described by the dielectric constant (7.59).
Consider the earth with such a medium beginning suddenly at a height h and extending to infinity.
For waves with polarization both perpendicular to the plane of incidence (from a horizontal antenna)
and in the plane of incidence (from a vertical antenna),
(a) show from Fresnel’s equations for reflection and refraction that for ω > ω
p
there is a range of
angles of incidence for which reflection is not total, but for larger angles there is total reflection
back toward the earth.
The Fresnel’s equations for reflection and refraction in the case of E perpendicular to the plane
of incidence according to (7.39):
E

0
E
0
=
2ncos i
ncos i −
µ
µ

_
n
2
−n
2
sin
2
i
(1)
E
0

E
0
=
ncos i −
µ
µ

_
n
2
−n
2
sin
2
i
ncos i −
µ
µ

_
n
2
−n
2
sin
2
i
(2)
and for E parallel to plane of incidence, according to (7.41):
E

0
E
0
=
2nn

cos i
µ
µ

n
2
cos i + n
_
n
2
−n
2
sin
2
i
(3)
E
0

E
0
=
µ
µ

n
2
cos i −n
_
n
2
−n
2
sin
2
i
µ
µ

n
2
cos i + n
_
n
2
−n
2
sin
2
i
(4)
In (2) and (4), it is clear that the reflected wave must be 1, only if the real part of the square
root vanishes, therefore:
n
2
−n
2
sin
2
i ≥ 0
sin
2
i ≥
n
2
n
2
Finally, using the relation between frequencies (7.59), we find:
sin
2
i ≥
n
2
n
2
≈ 1 −
ω
2
p
ω
2
ω
2
p
≥ ω
2
_
1 −sin
2
i
_

gomez@physics.rutgers.edu
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Then, we have partial reflection if the incoming wave incide with an angle less than i and, in
consequence, a total reflection if the angle is greater or equal than i.
(b) A radio amateur operating at a wavelength of 21 meters in the early evening finds that she
can receive distant stations located more than 1000 km away, but none closer. Assuming that
the signals are being reflected from the F layer of the ionosphere at an effective height of 300
km, calculate the electron density. Compare with the known maximum and minimum F layer
densities of 2 ×10
12
m
−3
in the daytime and (2 −4) ×10
11
m
−3
at night.
From part a), we found that the critical angle is given by:
θ
c
= sin
−1
_
_
_
ω
2
−ω
2
p
ω
_
_
(5)
Then, considering the ionosphere and the earth as flat surfaces, we can approximate that the
radio amateur can only receive distant stations when the wave is totally reflected. For this, we
can construct a triangle of base d and height h, thus:
sin θ
c
=
d/2
_
h
2
+ (d/2)
2
=
d

4h
2
+ d
2
_
ω
2
−ω
2
p
ω
=
d

4h
2
+ d
2
ω
2
p
= ω
2
_
1 −
d
2
4h
2
+ d
2
_
=
_
2πc
λ
_
2
4h
2
4h
2
+ d
2
Finally, the electron density is given by:
n
e
=

0
ω
2
p
c
2
=

2

2
0
e
2
λ
2
_
4h
2
4h
2
+ d
2
_
= 6.6 ×10
11
m
−3
If we compare this value with the known maximum and minimum F layer densities in the
daytime and at night, we see that the calculated value is in the middle of this two. Presumably,
this value corresponds to a density in the evening.
Jackson, 7.15 The partially ionized interstellar medium (mostly hydrogen) responds to optical frequen-
cies as an electronic plasma in a weak magnetic field. The broad-spectrum pulses from a pulsar allow
determination of some average properties of the interstellar medium (e.g., mean electron density and
mean magnetic field). The treatment of an electronic plasma in a magnetic field of Section 7.6 is
pertinent.
(a) Ignoring the weak magnetic field and assuming that max(ω
p
) ω, show that c times the transit
time of a pulse of mean frequency ω from a pulsar a distance R away is
ct(ω) ≈ R +
e
2

0
m
e
ω
2
_
n
e
(z) dz (6)
2
where n
e
(z) is the electron density along the path of the light.
Let us calculate the group velocity of the pulse, using (7.89):
v
g
=
c
n(ω) + ω
dn

(7)
Then, the index of refraction, assuming that in the interstellar medium µ = µ
0
, is:
n(ω) =
_
µε
µ
0
ε
0
=
_
ε
ε
0
(8)
Then, using the relation (7.67) for the dielectric constant and, ignoring the weak magnetic
field, we found:
n(ω) =
_
ε
ε
0
=
¸
1 −
ω
2
0
ω(ω ∓ω
B
)

¸
1 −
ω
2
p
ω
2
= 1 −
ω
2
p

2
(9)
Using this result, let us compute:
dn

=
ω
2
p
ω
3
Plugging this relation and (9) in (7):
v
g
=
c
n(ω) + ω
dn


c
1 −
ω
2
p

2
+ ω
ω
2
p
ω
3
=
c
1 +
ω
2
p

2
Finally, using the definition of ω
p
and the relation for group velocity:
v
g
=
dz
dt

c
1 +
ω
2
p

2
_
t
0
c dt ≈
_
R
0
1 +
ω
2
p

2
dz
ct(ω) ≈
_
R
0
1 +
n
e
(z)e
2

2
ε
0
m
dz
ct(ω) ≈ R +
_
0
R
n
e
(z)e
2

2
ε
0
m
dz
ct(ω) ≈ R +
e
2

2
ε
0
m
_
R
0
n
e
(z) dz
(b) The presence of the magnetic field causes a rotation of the plane of linear polarization (Faraday
effect). Show that to lowest order in the magnetic field, the polarized light from the pulsar has
its polarization rotated through an angle δθ(ω):
δθ(ω) ≈ −
e
3

0
cm
2
e
ω
2
_
n
e
(z)B

(z) dz (10)
where B

(z) is the component of B parallel to the path of the light.
Let us consider a circular polarized waves:
E = E(
1
±i
2
)e
ik·z−iωt
(11)
3
where
1
,
2
are the polarization vectors and the signs ± indicates the helicity of the wave.
Let us calculate now the index of refraction for the different polarization, using (7.67):
n
±
=
_
ε
±
ε
0
=
¸
1 −
ω
2
p
ω(ω ±ω
B
)
=
¸
1 −
ω
2
p
ω
2
(1 ±
ω
B
ω
)
≈ 1 −
ω
2
p

2
(1 ±
ω
B
ω
)
≈ 1 −
ω
2
p

2
_
1 ∓
ω
B
ω
_
= 1 −
ω
2
p

2

ω
2
p
ω
B

3
where we are just consider the first order approximation. Plugging this result into (11), and
neglecting the time dependence, we found:
E = E [
1
exp (ik
+
(z) dz) ±
2
exp(ik

(z) dz)]
= E
_

1
exp
_
i
ωn
+
c
dz
_
±
2
exp
_
i
ωn

c
dz
__
= E
_

1
exp
_
i
ω
c
_
1 −
ω
2
p

2

ω
2
p
ω
B

3
_
dz
_
±
2
exp
_
i
ω
c
_
1 −
ω
2
p

2
+
ω
2
p
ω
B

3
_
dz
__
from where is easy to see that we will have a different in phase of
ω
2
p
ω
B

2
c
dz. Therefore,
δθ(ω) ≈ −
_
ω
2
p
ω
B

2
c
dz
= −
_
ω
2
p
eB

(z)

2
cm
dz
= −
_
n(z)e
3
B

(z)

0
ω
2
cm
2
dz
= −
e
3

0
ω
2
cm
2
_
n(z)B

(z) dz
(c) Assuming you had an independent measure of the pulsar distance R, what observations would
you make in order to infer n
e
and B

? What assumptions, if any, about the polarization
are necessary?
To calculate the electron density we could maybe measure the spatial width of one pulse coming
from the pulsar. In addition, we can probably also measure the size of the wave packet of the
light that reaches us from the pulsar.
On the other hand, to measure the magnetic field we could measure the changes in the polar-
ization of the incoming light emitted by the pulsar. For this measurement, if we assume that
the light emitted is linear polarized, we can contrast our results with the measure values to
make sure that this assumption is right.
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