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Title: Extending geometrical optics: A Lagrangian theory for vector waves

Even when neglecting diffraction effects, the well-known equations of geometrical optics (GO) are not entirely accurate. Traditional GO treats wave rays as classical particles, which are completely described by their coordinates and momenta, but vector-wave rays have another degree of freedom, namely, their polarization. The polarization degree of freedom manifests itself as an effective (classical) “wave spin” that can be assigned to rays and can affect the wave dynamics accordingly. A well-known manifestation of polarization dynamics is mode conversion, which is the linear exchange of quanta between different wave modes and can be interpreted as a rotation of the wave spin. Another, less-known polarization effect is the polarization-driven bending of ray trajectories. Here, this work presents an extension and reformulation of GO as a first-principle Lagrangian theory, whose effective Hamiltonian governs the aforementioned polarization phenomena simultaneously. As an example, the theory is applied to describe the polarization-driven divergence of right-hand and left-hand circularly polarized electromagnetic waves in weakly magnetized plasma.
Authors:
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [2]
  1. Princeton Univ., Princeton, NJ (United States)
  2. Princeton Univ., Princeton, NJ (United States); Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. (PPPL), Princeton, NJ (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
No. 32-CFR-168a; NA0002948; AC02-09CH11466
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physics of Plasmas
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 24; Journal Issue: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 1070-664X
Publisher:
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Research Org:
Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. (PPPL), Princeton, NJ (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY
OSTI Identifier:
1367374
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1348029