Mechanical effects of light on material media: Radiation pressure and the linear and angular momenta of photons

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Electromagnetic waves carry energy as well as linear and angular momenta. Interactions between light and material media typically involve the exchange of all three entities. In all such interactions energy and momentum (both linear and angular) are conserved. Johannes Kepler seems to have been the first person to notice that the pressure of sunlight is responsible for the tails of the comets pointing away from the Sun. Modern applications of radiation pressure and photon momentum include solar sails, optical tweezers for optical trapping and micro-manipulation, and optically-driven micro-motors and actuators. This paper briefly describes certain fundamental aspects underlying the mechanical properties of light, and examines several interesting phenomena involving the linear and angular momenta of photons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
PublisherSPIE
Volume9186
ISBN (Print)9781628412130
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014
Event50 Years of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona - San Diego, United States
Duration: Aug 19 2014Aug 20 2014

Other

Other50 Years of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego
Period8/19/148/20/14

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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