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physics/98080024Aug1998 Does light exert Abraham's force in a transparent medium? *

Summary: physics/98080024Aug1998
Does light exert Abraham's force in a transparent medium? *
S. Antoci and L. Mihich
Dipartimento di Fisica "A. Volta" - Pavia, Italy
Abstract: Abraham's force seems to have been observed in very low frequency experiments,
but the existence of an Abraham's force exerted by light is still to be proved. In fact, the only
experiments performed with light have measured the radiation pressure exerted at the interface
between different dielectric media, and their value for inferring conclusions about the existence
of Abraham's force is at best opinable. Twenty years ago Brevik proposed an experiment for
checking what forces light exert in the interior of a transparent medium. It is argued that his
proposal is feasible today with a detection method now at hand, thanks to the great improvements
achieved in manufacturing optical fibres with the required physical properties.
1. - Introduction
Let us figure out a physicist who has engaged in even a cursory survey of the huge
amount of theoretical literature accumulated in more than one century about the forces
that electromagnetism supposedly produces in dielectric media: he has patiently compared
the divergent outcomes that eminent theoreticians have arrived at; he has doubtfully pon-
dered the relative advantages of the microscopic versus the macroscopic approach; he has
followed the alternating fortunes of electrostriction and magnetostriction 1)
; he has won-


Source: Antoci, Salvatore - Dipartimento di Fisica, Universita' di Pavia


Collections: Physics