The force law of classical electrodynamics

Lorentz versus einstein and laub

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

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The classical theory of electrodynamics is built upon Maxwell's equations and the concepts of electromagnetic field, force, energy, and momentum, which are intimately tied together by Poynting's theorem and the Lorentz force law. Whereas Maxwell's macroscopic equations relate the electric and magnetic fields to their material sources (i.e., charge, current, polarization and magnetization), Poynting's theorem governs the flow of electromagnetic energy and its exchange between fields and material media, while the Lorentz law regulates the backand- forth transfer of momentum between the media and the fields. As it turns out, an alternative force law, first proposed in 1908 by Einstein and Laub, exists that is consistent with Maxwell's macroscopic equations and complies with the conservation laws as well as with the requirements of special relativity. While the Lorentz law requires the introduction of hidden energy and hidden momentum in situations where an electric field acts on a magnetic material, the Einstein-Laub formulation of electromagnetic force and torque does not invoke hidden entities under such circumstances. Moreover, the total force and the total torque exerted by electromagnetic fields on any given object turn out to be independent of whether force and torque densities are evaluated using the Lorentz law or in accordance with the Einstein-Laub formulas. Hidden entities aside, the two formulations differ only in their predicted force and torque distributions throughout material media. Such differences in distribution are occasionally measurable, and could serve as a guide in deciding which formulation, if either, corresponds to physical reality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Volume8810
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013
EventOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation X - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 25 2013Aug 29 2013

Other

OtherOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation X
CountryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA
Period8/25/138/29/13

Fingerprint

Electrodynamics
electrodynamics
Albert Einstein
Maxwell equations
Torque
torque
Momentum
Poynting theorem
macroscopic equations
Maxwell's equations
Electromagnetic fields
momentum
formulations
Electric fields
electromagnetic fields
Lorentz force
Electromagnetic Fields
Relativity
Formulation
Magnetic materials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Cite this

Mansuripur, M. (2013). The force law of classical electrodynamics: Lorentz versus einstein and laub. In Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering (Vol. 8810). [88100K] https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2024808

The force law of classical electrodynamics : Lorentz versus einstein and laub. / Mansuripur, Masud.

Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering. Vol. 8810 2013. 88100K.

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

Mansuripur, M 2013, The force law of classical electrodynamics: Lorentz versus einstein and laub. in Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering. vol. 8810, 88100K, Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation X, San Diego, CA, United States, 8/25/13. https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2024808
Mansuripur M. The force law of classical electrodynamics: Lorentz versus einstein and laub. In Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering. Vol. 8810. 2013. 88100K https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2024808
Mansuripur, Masud. / The force law of classical electrodynamics : Lorentz versus einstein and laub. Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering. Vol. 8810 2013.
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