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PHYS503, 2016

2016, M. Yoon

Classical Electrodynamics

Lecturer
Moohyun Yoon, Office : 3-427 • ☎ 279-2080
Textbook
J. D. Jackson, Classical Electrodynamics, 3rd ed. (John Wiley & Sons,
New York 1999) (> 9th printing is recommended)
References
W. K. H. Panofsky and M. Philips, Classical Electricity and Magnetism
level)
J. Schwinger et al, Classical Electrodynamics, Westview Press (1998)
L. D. Landau and E. M. Lifshitz, The Classical Theory of Fields, 4th
revised English edition, Pergamon Press (Oxford 1987) (Graduate
level)

Homework 25%, Mid-term exam 35%, Final exam 35%, Extra 5% [class attitude (e.g. attendance,
questions, office hour etc.)]
Office hour 09:00 - 11:30 on every Thursday
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Also

Problems and Solutions on Electromagnetism (Major American

Universities Ph.D. Qualifying Questions and Solutions)
June, 1993

should be useful.

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Chapter 1 Introduction to Electrostatics

Lecture 1
1.1-1.5 Coulomb’s Law
1.6 Surface Distributions of Charges and Dipoles and
Discontinuities in the Electric Field and Potential
1.7 Poisson and Laplace Equations

Lecture 2
1.8 Green’s Theorem
1.9 Uniqueness of the Solution with Dirichlet or Neumann Boundary
Conditions
1.10 Formal Solution of Electrostatic Boundary-Value Problem with
Green’s Function

Lecture 3
1.11 Electrostatic Potential Energy and Energy Density; Capacitance

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ρ Volume charge density

∇⋅E = Gauss’s law (SI Unit)
ρ( x ) = qδ( x − x ' )
ε0
for a discrete point charge
∂B N
∇×E = − =0 for static cases
∂t ρ( x ) = ∑ q δ( x − x )
i =1
i i

for discrete point N charges

∴ E = −∇Φ Φ: Electric (scalar) potential (unit: volt)

ρ ρ
Poisson’s eq. ∇ ⋅ E = ∇ ⋅ (−∇Φ ) = → ∇ 2Φ = − (1.1)
ε0 ε0
In regions of space that does not have a charge density, the scalar potential satisfies the Laplace
equation

∇ 2Φ = 0 (1.2)
Since
1
∇2 = −4πδ( x − x ' ) (1.3) , it is easy to verify that
x − x'
1 ρ( x ' ) 3 Free space permittivity
Φ(x ) =
4πε 0 ∫ | x − x' |
d x' (1.4) ε0=8.854×10-12 F/m

satisfies Poisson’s equation.

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2 Electric scalar potential: Physical interpretation

A test charge q is under the influence of (pre-existing) E.
Then work W done by an external agent on the test charge to move it
from A to B is
B B B B
W=− ∫ qE ⋅ d l = − q ∫
A A
E ⋅dl = q ∫
A ∫
∇ Φ ⋅ d l = q dΦ
A
= q (Φ B − Φ A ) ≡ U B − U A Note: It is not the work done
(1.5) by F=qE!
The negative sign comes because the work must be done against
the action of the field
U = qΦ : potential energy of the test particle in the electrostatic field so the scalar potential is
equivalent to the potential energy per unit charge.

x
Let ΦA = 0 as A goes to infinity. Then Φ(x ) = − ∫∞
E ⋅dl (1.6)

The scalar potential Φ at x is defined as the work required to bring a unit charge from infinity to
x under the influence of electric field.

B
∫A
E ⋅ d l = −(Φ B − Φ A ) (1.7) independent of the path

For closed path Electrostatic field is conservative
E ⋅dl = 0 →∇ × E = 0 Continuity of the tangential component of E
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3 Field intensity across charged surfaces

Gauss’s law in integral form σ: surface charge density
1
∫ E ⋅ n̂da =
ε0 ∫ σda
S

σ Discontinuity of En
(E 2 − E1 ) ⋅ n̂ = (1.9)
ε0
But
1 σ( x ' )
Φ(x ) =
4πε 0 ∫
S | x − x'|
da ' (1.10)

Φ is continuous everywhere for volume and surface charge densities (even within the charge
distribution). But with point or line charges or dipole layers, Φ is no longer continuous.

Distribution type Φ near distribution E near distribution

surface r constant

point r-1 r-2

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Potential due to a dipole layer distribution

S
n Potential at x due to two surface charge distributions
da'
1 σ( x ' ) − σ( x ' )
S' d

da''
+σ Φ( x ) =
4πε 0 ∫ S | x − x'|
da '+ ∫ S' | x − x '+ n̂d ( x ' ) |
da"
x'
x' - nd −σ
Assuming |x-x’|>>d, we expand
0 x
1 1 1 ( x − x ' ) ⋅ n̂d
= = 1−
| x − x '+ n̂d | ( x − x ' ) 2 + 2( x − x ' ) ⋅ dn̂ + (dn̂ ) 2 | x − x'| | x − x ' |2

And we find 1 σ( x ' ) σ( x ' ) ( x − x ' ) ⋅ σ( x ' )dn̂

Φ( x ) =
4πε 0 ∫
S | x − x'|
da '− ∫
S' | x − x ' |
da"+ ∫S' | x − x'| 3
da"

1 ( x − x ' ) ⋅ σ( x ' )dn̂

=
4πε 0 ∫
S | x − x'| 3
da '

Define the dipole moment density as D( x ' ) = D( x ' )n̂ ( x ' ) = lim σ( x ' )d ( x ' )n̂ ( x ' ) (1.10)
d →0
The usual electric dipole moment is then

p = D( x ' )da ' (1.11) _
p +
The dipole moment points from negative charge to positive charge.
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The potential due to a dipole layer distribution is then given by

1 (x − x' ) 1 1
Φ(x ) =
4πε 0 ∫ S
D( x ' )n̂ ⋅
| x − x ' |3
da ' =
4πε 0 ∫
S
D( x ' )n̂ ⋅ ∇'
| x − x'|
da '

1 ∂ 1
=
4πε 0 ∫S
D( x ' )
∂n ' | x − x ' |
da ' (1.12)

∂ 1 1 n̂ ⋅ ( x − x ' )
where we have used the notation = n̂ ⋅ ∇' = (1.13)
∂n ' | x − x ' | | x − x'| | x − x ' |3
Introducing the solid angle n̂ ⋅ ( x − x ' ) da ' cos θ
dΩ = −da ' 3
= 2
(1.14)
| x − x'| | x − x'|
n
θ
θ
θ : angle between n and |x’– x|
da'
-x
x'
Therefore, we write
dΩ . x - x'
da'n 1
∫ D ( x ' ) dΩ
x' x x
| - '| Φ(x ) = − (1.15)
x
4πε 0 S

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Potential of a point dipole

1 1 ( x '− x )
Φ( x ) = −
4πε 0 ∫S
D ( x ' ) dΩ = −
4πε 0 ∫ S
σ( x ' )d ( x ' )n̂ ⋅
| x − x ' |3
da '

1 ( x '− x ) 1 (x − x' )
=−
4πε 0 | x − x ' |3
⋅ n̂d
S
σ ∫
( x ' ) da ' =
4πε 0 | x − x ' |3
⋅ dn̂q
n
θ
1 p ⋅ (x − x' )
= (1.16) p = n̂qd
4πε 0 | x − x ' |3 x'-x

then θ is an acute angle (θ < π/2). Then Eq. (1.15) becomes

0
n
θ D π / 2 2π D
x' - x outside Φ1 ( x ) = −
4πε 0
dΩ =∫ ∫ ∫
0 0
sin θdθdϕ = −
2ε 0

If the point of observation x is just outside the dipole layer,

x'
x then θ is an obtuse angle (θ > π/2)
D π 2π D
Φ 2 (x) = −
4πε 0 ∫ ∫ π/ 2 0
dΩ = +
2ε 0
0
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D
Total potential jump across a dipole layer Φ 2 − Φ1 = i.e. discontinuous
ε0 (1.17)
Φ Φ
+D/2ε0

-D/2ε0

- r = |x|
+
dipole layer
(a) (b)

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For discrete or continuous localized charges without boundary,

1 ρ( x ' ) 3
Φ(x ) =
4πε 0 ∫ | x − x' |
d x'

But in the presence of boundary surfaces with prescribed boundary conditions,

this is not always convenient and we may need to develop more convenient tools.

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Green’s first and second identities

Let’s begin with the Divergence theorem

V

∇ ⋅ Ad 3 x = A( x ) ⋅ n̂da
S
A : an arbitrary vector
n : outward normal in S
φ, ψ : arbitrary scalar functions
Let A = φ∇ψ

∇ ⋅ A = ∇ ⋅ (φ∇ψ ) = φ∇ 2 ψ + ∇φ ⋅ ∇ψ
∂ψ
Green’s first identity

V
(φ∇ 2 ψ + ∇φ ⋅ ∇ψ )d 3 x = φ ∫
S
∂n
da (1.18)

Interchange φ with ψ
∂φ

V
(ψ∇ 2 φ + ∇ψ ⋅ ∇φ)d 3 x = ψ ∫
S
∂n
da

and then subtract them to get

∂ψ ∂φ
Green’s second identity
(or Green’s theorem) ∫
V
(φ∇ 2 ψ − ψ∇ 2 φ)d 3 x = ∫
S
φ
∂n
−ψ
∂n
da (1.19)

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So far everything is mathematics. We now apply it to electrostatics by choosing

two specific functions (and changing integration variable to x’):
1 1 2 ρ
ψ= = φ = Φ (scalar potential) ∇ Φ = −
R | x − x'| ε0
∂ψ ∂φ
∫ ∫
'2 '2 3
Substitute these into (φ∇ ψ − ψ ∇ φ) d x ' = ( φ − ψ )da '
∂n ' ∂n '
V S

1 ∂ 1 1 ∂Φ
∫V
− 4πΦ ( x ' )δ( x − x ' ) +
ε0R
ρ( x ' ) d 3 x ' = ∫
S
Φ ( )−
∂n ' R R ∂n '
da '

If x ∈ vol (i.e. interior problem),

1 ρ( x ' ) 3 1 1 ∂Φ ( x ' ) ∂ 1 Integral eq.
Φ(x ) =
4πε 0 ∫
vol
| x − x' |
d x' +
4π ∫
S
R ∂n '
− Φ(x ' ) ( ) da '
∂n ' R (1.20)

1st term: The volume integral includes only the charges inside V. The charges outside V are
taken care of by two surface integrals
∂Φ
2nd term: potential due to an effective surface charge density σ = ε 0
∂n '
3rd term: potential due to a dipole layer of the dipole moment density D= -ε0Φ
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5 Uniqueness of the Solution

Specification of the potential Φ on a closed surface S (Dirichlet condition) or specification of the
normal component of the electric field En (=∂Φ/∂n) on the surface (Neumann condition) uniquely
defines a potential problem.

Proof
Suppose Φ1 and Φ2 satisfying the same BC and let U = Φ 2 − Φ1
ρ
∇ 2 Φ1 = ∇ 2 Φ 2 = −
ε0
∂U
Then ∇ U = 0 inside V, and U = 0 or
2 = 0 on S
∂n
Green’s first identity with φ=ψ=U
∂U

vol

( U∇ 2 U + ∇U ⋅ ∇U)d 3 x = U
S
∂n
da ⇒ ∫ | ∇U |
vol
2
d3x = 0

U= 0 then Φ1=Φ2 (Dirichlet BC)

For Neumann BC, Φ is also unique to an (unimportant) arbitrary constant.
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6 Formal solution with Green’s function

The previous integral equation for Φ over-specified boundary conditions; we do
not need both terms in the surface integrals (from uniqueness theorem). So we
need to develop a formal procedure to remove one of the surface integrals.

1
Instead of demanding ψ = we may introduce a more generic function ψ = G ( x, x ' )
x − x'
1
where G ( x, x ' ) = + F( x , x ' ) (1.21)
x − x'
Here, F(x, x’) is an undetermined function which is a solution of ∇ '2 F( x , x ' ) = 0
for x and x’ in V. So

Physically, the function G, viewed as a function of x’, is a solution of Poisson’s

equation in V given a unit point charge in x.

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With Green’s Theorem,

∂ψ ∂φ

V
(φ∇ 2 ψ − ψ∇ 2 φ)d 3 x = ∫
S
φ
∂n
−ψ
∂n
da

By choosing φ = Φ, ψ = G ( x , x ' )

ρ 1
with ∇ 2Φ = − ∇ 2ψ = ∇ 2 + F( x , x ' ) = −4πδ( x − x ' )
ε0 , x − x'
We get
1 1 ∂Φ ( x ' ) ∂G ( x , x ' )
Φ(x ) =
4πε 0 ∫
vol
ρ( x ' )G ( x , x ' )d 3 x ' +
4π ∫ S
G ( x, x ' )
∂n '
− Φ(x ' )
∂n '
da ' (1.23)

The freedom in the definition of G allows us to remove one of the surface integral
depending on the type of BCs. This is possible by appropriately choosing F(x, x’)
function.
If S→∞, the surface integrals vanish restoring the usual expression.

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For Dirichlet condition (i.e. Φ is specified on S), we demand

G D ( x, x ' ) = 0 for x’ on S, then we have
1 1 ∂G D (1.24)
Φ(x) =
4πε 0 ∫
vol
ρ( x )G D ( x , x ' )d 3 x ' −
4π ∫
Φ(x ' )
S
∂n '
da '
Potential for Dirichlet problem

For Neumann condition ( specification of normal derivative of Φ), one tempts to choose
∂G N ( x , x ' )
∂n '
= 0 for x' on S. However, if we do so we run into trouble
because from ∇ '2 G ( x , x ' ) = −4πδ( x − x ' )
let’s take a volume integral over V inside S
∂G ( x , x ' )

vol

∇ ' ⋅ ∇ 'G ( x , x ' )d 3 x ' = ∇ 'G ( x , x ' ) ⋅ n̂ ' da ' =
S
∫S ∂n '
da '

∫ − 4πδ(x − x ' )d x
3
= −4π So it does not make sense to choose ∂G N ( x, x ' ) =0
vol ∂n ' x ' on S
With this observation, choose the simplest possible BC: ∂G N ( x , x ' ) 4π
=−
1 1 ∂Φ ( x ' ) ∂n ' S
Φ ( x ) =< Φ > S +
4πε 0 ∫
vol
ρ( x ' )G N ( x , x ' )d 3 x ' +
4π ∫
S
∂n '
G N da '
Potential for
S: surface area

1
< Φ >S =
S ∫
Φ ( x ' )da '
S
(1.25) Neumann problem
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Dirichlet and Neumann Green’s functions are symmetric in x and x’ interchanged (see
Jackson Problem 1.14). G(x, x’) = G(x’, x)

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7 Electrostatic energy Lecture 3

When a point charge q is at a point x in the presence of the potential Φ(x) (which has
been produced by other sources), the electrostatic potential energy associated with
this charge is defined as the amount of work required to bring the charge from a
reference position (usually taken to be at infinity) to x; W = qΦ(x).

We want to calculate the potential energy of a system consisting of a number of point

charges. We will then extend the result to the case for finite charge distribution.

Procedure:
First, let the charges be dispersed to infinity. Then we bring the charges one by one to
their original positions from infinity and calculate the work required to bring them in.
Assume the space under consideration is initially field free (i. e., Φ0=0). Then bring
the first charge q1 to its original position x1. In this case no work is done (W1=0)
because there is no initial field (or potential).
Once q1 is positioned to x1 , it produces a potential Φ1 everywhere in space:
1 q1
Φ1 ( x ) = , W1 = 0
4πε 0 | x − x1 |

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With q1 at x1 , next bring the second charge q2 to x2. Work is required in this case
and is given by W2 = q 2 Φ1 ( x 2 )
1 q2
And q2 creates the potential Φ 2 (x) =
4πε 0 | x − x 2 |
Similarly for the third charge q3, we have
1 q3
W3 = q 3 [Φ1 ( x 3 ) + Φ 2 ( x 3 )], Φ 3 (x) =
4πε 0 | x − x 3 |
In general for qi to the position at xi , the work required is given by
i −1
Wi = q i [Φ1 ( x i ) + Φ 2 ( x i ) + + Φ i −1 ( x i )] = q i ∑ Φ (x )
j=1
j i
1 qj
where Φ j (x i ) =
4πε 0 | x i − x j |
Total electric potential energy for N charges is therefore
N N N
1 qiq j
W= ∑W = ∑q ∑
i =1
i
i =1
i
j<i
Φ j (x i ) =
4πε 0 ∑∑ | x
i =1 j<i i −xj |
where 1
N
qj
∑| x
N N N
1 qiq j 1 Φ(x i ) =
=
8πε 0 ∑∑
i =1 j≠ i
=
| xi − x j | 2 ∑ q Φ(x )
i =1
i i (1.26) 4πε 0 j≠ i i −xj |
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For continuous charge distribution, let

q i → ρ( x )d 3 x , q j → ρ( x ' )d 3 x '
Then we have
1 ρ( x )ρ( x ' ) 3 3 1
W=
8πε 0 ∫∫ | x − x'|
d xd x ' =
2 ∫
ρ( x )Φ ( x )d 3 x (1.27)

Alternative expression
Insert ρ( x ) = −ε 0 ∇ 2 Φ ( x ) = −ε 0 ∇ ⋅ ∇Φ ( x )

Using Φ∇ ⋅ ∇Φ = ∇ ⋅ (Φ∇Φ ) − (∇Φ ) 2

we find 1 ε ε
2
W= ∫ 2 ∫
ρ( x )Φ ( x )d 3 x = 0 (∇Φ ) 2 d 3 x − 0 ∇ ⋅ (Φ∇Φ )d 3 x
2 ∫
ε ε ε ε
∫ ∫
= 0 | E |2 d 3 x − 0 Φ∇Φ ⋅ n̂da = 0 | E |2 d 3 x + 0 ΦE ⋅n̂da
2 2 2 2 S ∫ ∫
Extending the boundary to infinity, the surface term becomes zero (why?)
ε0 ε0
W = ∫ wd 3 x = ∫ | E |2 d 3 x , w= | E |2 (1.28) Always > 0 (positive definite)
2 V 2
w: energy density
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For a point charge, the self energy (i.e. the energy required to form a point charge)
becomes infinite, but for finite distribution of charge it is finite.
Proof for a point charge:
2
ε ε 1 q2 q2 ∞ 1
∫ | E |2 d 3 x = 0 ∫∫∫ ∫
2
W= 0 r sin θdrdθdϕ = dr → ∞
2 V 2 4πε 0 r4 8πε 0 0 r2

Force on a conductor
Let
E1: electric field inside the conductor = 0
E2: electric field outside the conductor

Gauss’s law σ σ
(E 2 − E1 ) ⋅ n̂ = , E2 = E =
ε0 ε0
ε0 σ 2
w = | E |2 = Force per unit area (1.29)
2 2ε 0 (N/m2)

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8 System of conductors: Coefficient of capacitance

Suppose there are conductors otherwise in empty space. Each conductor carries charge qi and
potential Vi. Then a linear relationship exists between the potential of the conductors and the
charges on various conductors in the system. In other words, the electrostatic potential energy of
the system can be expressed in terms of the potentials alone and certain geometrical quantities
called coefficients of capacity. The capacitance of a conductor is the total charge on the conductor
when it is maintained at unit potential, all other conductors being held at zero potential.

q1 q2 Consider a system made of two conductors. First let q2 = 0.

Then the potentials at the conductors 1 and 2 can be expressed
as
V1' = p11q1 , V2' = p 21q1

V1 V2 pij: coefficients of potential, geometrical constants depending on

the configuration of the conductors w.r.t. the point of
observation
(pij = pji; pii > 0; pii > pij)
Next, let q1 = 0. Then the potentials at the conductors 1 and 2 can be expressed as
V1" = p12 q 2 , V2" = p 22 q 2
Superposition: Then the potentials at the conductors 1 and 2 due to both q1 and q2 are
V = V'+ V" N
1
N
1
N N (1.31)
In general, for N conductors Vi = ∑ p ij q j (1.30) The ES energy W =
2 ∑
i =1
q i Vi =
2 ∑∑
i =1 j=1
p ijq i q j
j=1
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N
Eq. (1.30) is a matrix equation. Inverting it, we get qi = ∑C V
j=1
ij j (1.32)
N N
1
Then the energy can be written as W=
2 ∑∑ C V V
i =1 j=1
ij i j
(1.33)

Cii: coefficients of capacitance

Cij: coefficients of induction
Example: A two conductor system Q C C12 V1
-Q = 11
+Q −Q C 21 C 22 V2
V1 1 C 22 − C12 Q
=
V2 det(C ij ) − C 21 C11 −Q
V1 V2 = C −1

The capacitance is then given by

Q det(C ij ) C11C 22 − C 21C12
C= =Q = (1.34)
V1 − V2 C 22 + C 21 + C12 + C11 C 22 + C 21 + C12 + C11

Cij depends on detailed geometry of the conductors

Exercise: Solve for a concentric spherical capacitor of radius a and b with qa and
qb on them.
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