A new look at the pushing force of an electromagnetic wave on a classical charged particle

Hanno Essén (Corresponding Author), Johan C.-E. Stén

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The interaction between a plane wave and a classical charged particle is reviewed in this paper. A matrix formulation is used to derive the relativistic motion of the particle due to the Lorentz force of a spatially homogeneous time-harmonic radiation field. The Landau-Lifshitz approach to the radiation damping force is then investigated for the same field. In conclusion only the radiation damping accelerates the particle in the direction of the Poynting vector for this type of field. The Lorentz force only leads to an extra constant drift velocity, plus oscillations with the frequency of the field.
Original languageEnglish
Article number055029
JournalEuropean Journal of Physics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed



  • classical charged particle
  • Lorentz force
  • plane electromagnetic wave
  • radiation damping force
  • solution to equation of motion

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