Axiomatic geometrical optics, Abraham-Minkowski controversy, and photon properties derived classically

I. Y. Dodin, N. J. Fisch

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By restating geometrical optics within the field-theoretical approach, the classical concept of a photon (and, more generally, any elementary excitation) in an arbitrary dispersive medium is introduced, and photon properties are calculated unambiguously. In particular, the canonical and kinetic momenta carried by a photon, as well as the two corresponding energy-momentum tensors of a wave, are derived from the first principles of Lagrangian mechanics. As an example application of this formalism, the Abraham-Minkowski controversy pertaining to the definitions of these quantities is resolved for linear waves of arbitrary nature, and corrections to the traditional formulas for the photon kinetic energy-momentum are found. Several other applications of axiomatic geometrical optics to electromagnetic waves are also presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number053834
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 29 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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