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periodic structure∗

H. Chipart

1924†

In his theory of double refraction and natural optical activity, Sarrau1 tried

to deduce, from considerations based on the periodic structure of the medium,

the vector equality

∂D ∂D ∂D

E = f1 D, , ,

∂x ∂y ∂z

Around the same time (1867-1868), Potier2 was in possession of an integra-

tion method that gives more complete results. I intend to establish that Potier’s

analysis gives the vector equality

∂E ∂E ∂E

P = f2 E, , ,

∂x ∂y ∂z

Let us first suppose, as do Briot,3 Sarrau and Potier, that we are dealing with

an isotropic medium with a periodic structure. The equations to be integrated

are

∂2E

∇2 E − ∇∇ · E = K 2 (1)

∂t

∇ · (KE) = 0 (2)

∗ This is an English translation by E. F. Kuester of a paper which originally appeared in

Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des Sciences (Paris), vol. 178, pp. 319-321 (1924). For

easier readability, mathematical notation has been made somewhat more consistent with that

normally used today. Thus, vector quantities appear in bold, while grad → ∇, etc. Some

clarifying comments have also been made, indicated as Translator’s Notes. The translator

is grateful to Dr. Alain Bossavit and Dr. Sébastien Rondineau for their comments on the

translation.

† Session of 7 January 1924, presented by L. Lecornu.

1 [Translator’s note: E. Sarrau, “Sur la propagation et la polarisation de la lumière dans

les cristaux,” J. Math. Pures Appl., ser. 2, vol. 12, pp. 1-46 (1867) and vol. 13, pp. 59-110

(1868).]

2 [Translator’s note: A. Potier, “Recherches sur l’integration d’un système d’équations

Française pour l’Avancement des Sciences (Bordeaux), Sess. 1, pp. 255-272 (1872); also in A.

Potier, Mémoires sur l’Électricité et l’Optique. Paris: Gauthier-Villars, 1912, pp. 239-256.]

3 [Translator’s Note: C. Briot, Essais sur la Théorie Mathématique de la Lumière. Paris:

1

where the dielectric constant K is a periodic function of (x, y, z).

Neglecting terms due to structural scattering4 , we easily see that the solution

to the problem is

Em eiQ + ∇(ΦeiQ )

where

2π

Q= (nαx + nβy + nγz − t),

τ

Em denotes a constant vector and Φ a periodic function of (x, y, z). In what

follows, Em will be written simply as E.

Putting

Θ = αEx + βEy + γEz

we obtain the system (1′ ), (2′ ):

(1′ )

∇ · K∇ ΦeiQ + (E · ∇) KeiQ = 0

(2′ )

Consistent with the order of approximation already used, (2′ ) will be replaced

by (2′′ ):

2πni

∇ · (K∇Φ) + (E · ∇)K + [KΘ + (ν · ∇)(KΦ) + K(ν · ∇)Φ] = 0 (2′′ )

τ

The symbols (E · ∇) and (ν · ∇) in these equations represent the differential

operators5

∂ ∂ ∂ ∂ ∂ ∂

(E · ∇) = Ex + Ey + Ez , (ν · ∇) = α +β +γ

∂x ∂y ∂z ∂x ∂y ∂z

τ Φ1 of an expansion of Φ,

we obtain from (2′′ ) equations (3) and (4) that must be satisfied by Φ0 and Φ1 :

From (1′ ), we end up with equation (5) for the average values Ex , Ey and

Ez :

2πni

n2 (E − νΘ) = hK (E + ∇Φ0 )i + hK (νΦ0 + ∇Φ1 )i (5)

τ

where the symbol hgi denotes the average value of the function g over a period

cell.

4 [Translator’s

Note: i. e., Bragg scattering.]

5 [Translator’s

Note: That is, the vector ν = αux +βuy +γuz , where ux,y,z are the cartesian

unit vectors. The author appears to intend that ν is a unit vector. Clearly, Θ = ν · E.]

2

Consequences

1. The equations for the average values Ex , Ey and Ez are of Boussinesq’s

type.6

Indeed, the solutions of (3) and (4) are

0 , Φ1 = Ex ϕ′1 + Ey ϕ′′1 + Ez ϕ′′′

1 (6)

∂K

∇ · (K∇ϕ′0 ) + = 0, ∇ · (K∇ϕ′1 ) + (ν · ∇)(Kϕ′0 ) + Kα = 0, (7)

∂x

etc.

Upon using (6), equations (5) can be written

2πni

n2 (Ex −αΘ) = K11 Ex +K12 Ey +K13 Ez + (H11 Ex + H12 Ey + H13 Ez )

τ

(5′ )

and so on, with

∂ϕ′0 ∂ϕ′′ ∂ϕ′

K11 = K 1 + , K12 = K 0 , K21 = K 0 , ...

∂x ∂x ∂y

′ ∂ϕ′1 ′′ ∂ϕ′′1

H11 = K αϕ0 + , H12 = K αϕ0 +

∂x ∂x

′

∂ϕ1

H21 = K βϕ′0 + , ...

∂y

By (7) the Kij are constants while the Hij are linear functions of (α, β, γ).

2. The equations for the average values conform to the notion of a potential.

In other words, the matrix formed from the Kij is symmetric, and that

formed from Hij is skew-symmetric.

This important property is a consequence of Potier’s formulas (Oeuvres,

pp. 250-256). For example, the relation H12 + H21 = 0 results from the

two equalities (8):

D ′′

E

K ∂ϕ1 + hϕ′0 [Kβ + (ν · ∇)(Kϕ′′0 ) + K(ν · ∇)ϕ′′0 ]i = 0

D ∂x′ E (8)

K ∂ϕ1 + hϕ′′0 [Kα + (ν · ∇)(Kϕ′0 ) + K(ν · ∇)ϕ′0 ]i = 0

∂y

Taking the sum of the equations in (8) we get

6 [Translator’s Note: M. Boussinesq, “Théorie nouvelle des ondes lumineuses,” J. Math.

3

Remark

Potier’s method of integration can be applied to anisotropic media with periodic

structure. For such media we have the equations

∂2D

∇2 E − ∇∇ · E = , ∇ · D = 0, Dx = k11 Ex + k12 Ey + k13 Ez , ...

∂t2

with the kij (= kji ) being periodic functions of (x, y, z). We again arrive at (5′ )

with Kij = Kji , Hij + Hji = 0; as far as dispersion is concerned, we conclude

that optical activity of structural origin obeys the same laws as optical activity

of atomic origin.

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