HomePhysicsGENERAL PHYSICSPhysicist solves century old problem of radiation reaction

Physicist solves century old problem of radiation reaction

Scientists have proposed a radical solution to the question of how a charged particle responded to its own electromagnetic field.

Dr. Jonathan Gratus, mathematical physicist, has suggested an alternative approach as a solution to the question. The research has been published in Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical.

If a point charge accelerates it produces electromagnetic radiation. This radiation has both energy and momentum. This must come from somewhere. Scientists used to think that they come from the energy and momentum of the charged particle.

Scientists wanted to calculate this radiation reaction. Well known physicists like Plank, Abraham, von Laue, Born, Schott, Pauli, Dirac and Landau have tried to calculate this radiation reaction. Scientists continued their research to this day.

According to Maxwell’s equations- the electric field at the actual point where the point particle is infinite. So, the force on that point particle needs to be infinite.

Several methods have been used to renormalise away this infinity. Then Lorentz-Abraham-Dirac equation has established.

This equation has well known pathological solutions. For example, a particle obeying this equation may accelerate forever with no external force. It can also accelerate before any force is applied. There is the quantum version of radiation damping. This is one of the few phenomena where the quantum version happens at lower energies than the classical one.

Scientists are searching for this effect. This needs ‘colliding’ very high energy electrons and powerful laser beams. This is a challenge as the biggest particle accelerators are not situated near the most powerful lasers. The firing lasers into plasmas will produce high energy electron. This can interact with the laser beam.

This needs a powerful laser. Resent results show that quantum radiation reaction does exist. The alternative approach is to consider many charged particles. Each particle responds to the fields of all the other charged particles. This approach has been dismissed. Scientists assume that this would not conserve energy and momentum.


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