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Anomalous State from a Classical Hamiltonian: Electric

Dipole in a Magnetic Field

Boris Atenas, Luis A del Pino and Sergio Curilef
Departamento de Fsica, Universidad Catlica del Norte, Avenida Angamos 0610, Antofagasta, Chile
Abstract. We study the classical behavior of an electric dipole in the presence of a uniform magnetic field. Using the
Lagrangian formulation, we obtain the equations of motion, whose solutions are represented in terms of Jacobi functions.
We obtain a relation between the
We also identify two constants of motion, namely, the energy E and a pseudomomentum C.
constants that allows us to suggest the existence of a type of bound states without turning points, which are called trapped
states. These results are consistent with and complementary to previous results.
Keywords: General Physics, Electric Dipole, Lagrangian formulation

In the present day, many specialists study the world at the molecular scale. Nanotechnology is slowly exploring
molecular rotors, and applications of this concept are extensive. Using electric fields, molecules can change in
orientation and/or remain controlled [1, 2, 3]. Molecular-level devices can be obtained from the conversion of energy
into controlled motion; nevertheless, it is difficult to repeat this process using a mechanical molecular motor, although
it is common in biological systems. For the time being, it is expected that the physical principles at the scale of
a molecular engine can be identified by applying rotor dynamics in two dimensions. These rotors are modeled as
electric dipoles in electric or magnetic fields. The primary goal of the present work is to describe the motion of a
classical electric dipole in the presence of an external magnetic field, perpendicular to the dipoles plane of motion.
This system has been approached from various perspective by several authors [4, 5, 6, 7]. However, the trajectory of
the center of mass and the conditions for the existence of trapped states in terms of the constants of motion have not
been fully studied. In this article, we describe in detail the solution of the equations of motion in the coordinates of the
relative motion and the center of mass, which we derive from the Lagrangian formulation of the problem. The relation
between the constants of motion, which permits the existence of trapped states, is established. These solutions could
significantly impact the future of the applications and construction to molecular motors, as they describe the overall
behavior of a dipole from a classical perspective.
In the present model [4], we consider two charges in the presence of a uniform magnetic field. The magnetic field is
obtained from a vector potential A, as follows B = A. We assign to the particle 1(2) the charge e1 e2 , the position
r1 (r2 ), the velocity r1 (r2 ) and the mass m1 (m2 )
e1 e2
L(r1 ,r2 ;r1 ,r2 ) = m1r1 + m2r2 A(r1 ) r1 A(r2 ) r2
|r2 r1 |


where is the dielectric constant of the medium in which the motion of charges occurs. We define the vector potential
A using the symmetric gauge A(ri ) = 1 B ri , where B is the uniform magnetic field. Now, we consider the following
change of variables:
r =r1 r2 ,

R = m1r1 + m2r2
m1 + m2


wherer is the relative position and R is the position of the center of mass. Now, we consider a rigid dipole composed of
an internal coupling that holds the two charges together and ensures that the Coulomb interaction between the charges
is constant. Then, one of the particles carries charge +e, whereas the other carries charge e, and |r| = a is the fixed
length of the dipole. If we substitute finally we obtain the following function:
1 2 1 2 e2
(m1 m2 )

L(R,r; R,r) = M R + r +
B R r + B r R +
B r r
a 2c

where = m1Mm2 is the reduced mass and M = m1 + m2 is the total mass of the dipole. The energy of the system can
be obtained by a legendre transformed of langrangian.
The other constant of motion that appears from the analysis is called pseudomomentum [4, 6],
R + qAR + ec A


where q = e1 + e2 is the total charge and ec = e1 mM2 e2 mM1 is the coupling charge, AR =
R = MR + 1 B r. Thus,the energy, for q = 0 is given by

2c B R,

r =

2c B r



1 2
1 e
e .
E = r +
B r C
2M c


Now, if we restrict the motion of the particles to a plane perpendicular to e = eC eB , to constitute a complete
set of orthonormal vectors, namely, a basis. In the above basis r and R are represented in terms of which is the

(the cyclotron frequency).
angle between the vectorsr and e . In addition we define = ar , = Ra , dtd = c dd , c = Mc
= sin e + ( cos )eC


The pseudomomentum is also defined as a dimensionless constant as follows: =

If we define the Eq.(7) in terms of the dimensionless units, =

, c

c2 M a3

M c a .
= 2 2E
c M a

we obtain:

1 2
2 cos + 1 + 2 c


By taking the time derivative of the previous equation and dismissing the trivial solution = 0, we obtain:

+ 2 sin = 0,

with 2 = a


where the time derivative is in terms of the dimensionless time . We emphasize that Eq.(8) coincides with the equation
of motion of a nonlinear pendulum whose general solution is [8]:

= sgn 0 k[ 0 ] + sn1 (k0 | )

= 2 arcsin[sn( ( )| )]sgn(cn( ( )| ))
= 2sgn 0 kdn( ( )| )


2 +42 k2

where = 1k , k =
, k0 = sin 20 , 0 , 0 are the initial angular velocity and the initial orientation of the
dipole, respectively, and the sgn(x) function is defined as
1, x 0
sgn(x) =
1, x < 0

Furthermore, we must take into account some additional definitions; these are the Jacobi functions [9]
sn(x|k) =
cn(x|k) =
dn(x|k) =


1 k2 sn2 (x|k)


and am(x|k) is the inverse of an incomplete elliptic function [9] of the first kind, with


1 k2 sin2


The set of equations (9) is valid for any value of the parameter and the value of this parameter classifies the motion
of the dipole into two possible states: if 1, the dipole has sufficient energy to rotate and, if > 1, the dipole

oscillates around equilibrium. For the latter case, it is suitable, from the numerical point of view, to reformulate the set
of equations (9) as a function of the parameter k, which takes values in accordance with 0 k 1:

= sgn 0 [ 0 ] + sn1 (k0 /k|k)

= 2 arcsin[ksn( |k)]
= 2sgn 0 kcn( |k)

The angle and the angular velocity are periodic functions with the following period:
2 K( )/, 1
4 K(k)/, > 1



where K(x) is the complete elliptic integral of the first kind.

The law of motion that satisfies the position of the center of mass can be found by integrating the Eq(6) , with the aid
of Eqs. (9) and (13). The solution of the Eq(6) for > 1 can be written as follows.


[cn( |k) cn(0 |k)]

[( 1)( 0 ) + 2{ 0 + E(am(0 |k)) E(am( |k))}]
= 20 +

= 10 2k


where the quantity with subindex zero, represents initial conditions.

Equations (15) represent the general laws of motion for the position of the center of mass regardless whether the dipole
possesses enough energy to rotate, namely, for any value of .
Trapped states exhibit the property of having a mean velocity equal to zero[4, 7]. For the variable of the center of mass,
Eqs. (15) mean:

1 ( ) 10 = 0

2 ( ) 20 = 0


where = 2sgn 0 k( ) + 0 . The first equation of (16) is immediately satisfied because of the periodicity of Jacobi
functions. The second is satisfied only if
= 12

K( ) E( )
, 1,
2 K( )

= 12

K(k) E(k)
, >1


where E(x) is the complete elliptic integral of the second kind. The condition for the existence of trapped states is
included in Eq.(17). As concluded previously in [4], trapped states can only exist if 1, which is the same result as
in Eq.(17).
Case 1: 1 represents rotating dipoles Eq. (17) has nonnegative solutions if = 0, = 0. Eq. (16) represents a
trapped motion. In the spatial reference system centered on the initial position of the center of mass, the previous
equation is a curve that forms a sort of cardioid.
Case 2: > 1 the equation (17) may possess positive solutions if 0 k < kmax , kmax 0.9. By analyzing the equation
(17) in terms of k 0 and preserving the terms of the order k2 ; 1 k2 and Eqs.(15) can be converted in:


sgn 0
k[cos( ) cos(0 )]

sgn 0 2
k [sin(2 ) sin(20 )]
= 20
= 10 2


The aproximation for k 0 that leads to Eq (18) defines a Lissajous figure with = 2 centered in a suitable system
of reference. However, if we repeat the calculation numerically for higher values for k, surprisingly, we obtain a nearly
identical figure. As stated above, the orbit for all values of the parameter k are very similar. In order to show a graphical
example for functions obtained from the Eq.(18), we define the following normalized cordinates for the center of mass

1N =

1 10
max 1 10

2N =

2 20
max 2 20


FIGURE 1. The normalized path of the center of mass (of the dipole) for the initial conditions given by 0 = 0. Orbits for two
values of k are compared. The path for small k (namely, k = 0.01) is represented by a solid line, and the case k = 0.85 is represented
by red points. It is apparent that the two curves nearly coincide.

In summary, the present study supports and generalizes previous analyzes discussed in the literature, which can be
considered as particular cases of the present analysis. It is interesting to note that the system, under certain conditions,
can move against the sense of the pseudomomentum. As expected, the motion in the pseudomomentum sense is
possible too. Certainly, the present study of the behavior of the electric dipole in presence of a magnetic field is
classical. The behavior strongly depends on the initial conditions. If we slightly modify the initial conditions for the
system, we no longer obtain this special family of states. We think this is a relevant contribution that we expect to
follow studying by several perspectives. As said before, for the time being, it is expected that some physical principles
at the scale of a molecular engine can be identified by applying rotor modeled as electric dipoles in external magnetic
We acknowledge partial financial support from CONICYT-UCN PSD-065, and Fondos UCN. B.A acknowledgments the financial support from CONICYT, Beca Magister Nacional 2014.


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