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Relativity in Modern Physics$
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Nathalie Deruelle and Jean-Philippe Uzan

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198786399

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198786399.001.0001

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Waves in a medium

Waves in a medium

Chapter:
(p.328) 16 Waves in a medium
Source:
Relativity in Modern Physics
Author(s):

Nathalie Deruelle

Jean-Philippe Uzan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198786399.003.0034

This chapter uses a phenomenological approach to obtain a ‘mean’ or macroscopic description of electromagnetic phenomena inside matter. The electromagnetic field inside a medium induces charge and current distributions called polarization. These are the response of the matter to the field. The charge and current densities can be decomposed into the sum of free densities (that is, imposed from outside the medium, and which create the field) and induced densities. The matching conditions on the electromagnetic field at the interface between two different media (for example, a pair of lenses) can be obtained from the macroscopic Maxwell equations with the use of the Gauss and Stokes theorems.

Keywords:   phenomenological approach, electromagnetic phenomena, electromagnetic phenomena inside matter, Maxwell equations, Snell–Descartes laws, geometrical optics approximation, Fermat’s principle, polarization

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