Physics 415: Electromagnetic Theory I
Prof. S. Teitel ----- Fall 2002

Problem Set 7

Due Wednesday, December 11, in lecture

  • Problem 1

    In 1845, Faraday made the experimental discovery that a linearly polarized light wave (i.e. EM wave) could have its direction of polarization rotated by passing it through a static magnetic field in a dielectric. This was an important step in demonstrating that light was in some way an electromagnetic phenomenon. The purpose of this problem is to derive this result theoretically. For this problem, assume that µ is a constant.

    a) [20 points] Start by considering how the polarization of atoms in the dielectric is influenced by the presence of a uniform static magnetic field. Consider an electron in a uniform magnetic field, B = Bez, and an oscillating electric field due to an EM wave,

    E = Eomegae-i omegat,

    where Eomega is in the xy plane. Assume that there is a restoring force on the electron, Frest = -momegao2r, but assume the damping force is negligible. The solution for the electron's position will then have the form,

    r = romegae-i omegat.

    Write down the equations of motion for the x and y components of the electrons position, substitute in the above form of the solution, and solve for romega in terms of Eomega. Show that romega is not in general parallel to Eomega. Show that romega will be parallel to Eomega when Eomega is circularly polarized, i.e. when Eomega = Eomega(ex±iey), where (+) and (-) refer to right and left handed polarizations respectively. For these two circular polarizations, show that the atomic polarizations can be written as,

    pomega = -e romega = alpha±(omega)Eomega, where alpha+alpha-.

    b) [10 points] Using the above result, show that the two different (±) circularly polarized waves travel through the medium according to different dispersion relations,

    c2k±2 = omega2µepsilon±(omega),

    where the dielectric functions, epsilon±(omega) = 1+4piNalpha±(omega), are related to the atomic polarizabilities in the usual way. N is the density of polarizable atoms.

    c) [20 points] Consider now a slab of the dielectric of thickness L (the surfaces of the slab are perpendicular to the z axis). Suppose a plane wave, linearly polarized in the x direction, enters the slab at z=0. Show that when the wave exits the slab at z=L, the directionof polarization has been rotated. What is the angle of rotation? Has it rotated clockwise or counterclockwise? You may ignore reflections at the interfaces.

    Hint: To do this part, recall that any linearly polarized wave can always be written as a superposition of counter rotating circularly polarized waves.

Last update: Tuesday, August 21, 2007 at 1:47:53 PM.