This chapter examines solutions to the Maxwell equations in a vacuum: monochromatic plane waves and their polarizations, plane waves, and the motion of a charge in the field of a wave (which is the principle upon which particle detection is based). A plane wave is a solution of the vacuum Maxwell equations which depends on only one of the Cartesian spatial coordinates. The monochromatic plane waves form a basis (in the sense of distributions, because they are not square-integrable) in which any solution of the vacuum Maxwell equations can be expanded. The chapter concludes by giving the conditions for the geometrical optics limit. It also establishes the connection between electromagnetic waves and the kinematic description of light discussed in Book 1.
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