Physics 4500: Electromagnetic Fields II

4500 Electromagnetic Fields II discusses electrodynamics and the applications of Maxwell’s equations. Topics covered include electrodynamics (Maxwell’s equations and boundary conditions), conservation laws (continuity equation, Poynting's theorem, and momentum conservation), electromagnetic waves (wave properties, reflection and transmission, absorption and dispersion, guided waves), radiation (potential and fields, dipole radiation, and radiation from point charges), and relativistic electrodynamics. Selected topics in electrodynamics and applied electromagnetism may be introduced.

PR: PHYS 3500 and 3820

This course adds to concepts and topics in electromagnetic fields that are introduced in PHYS 3500. The main focus is dynamics, time-dependent behavior, as well as energy considerations associated with electric and magnetic fields. Much of what we know as Modern Physics, including quantum mechanics and relativity theory, has its roots in electromagnetic field theory developed in the 19th century. The applications of Maxwell’s equations will address important areas such as radiation and waveguiding to be discussed in this course as well as other interesting fields of photonic bandgap structures, optical solitons, and superconductivity. The course begins with a quick review of material covered in 3500, including the powerful time-dependent Maxwell’s equations applicable to electric and magnetic fields in matter. New material begins with a treatment of electromagnetic fields in terms of concepts we normally associated with mechanics, such as energy, power, momentum and angular momentum, as well as the associated conservation laws. Fundamental understanding of electromagnetism can only be achieved by a formal description in terms of waves. A development of electric and magnetic fields as 3D time- and space-dependent vectors is given. Transmission, reflection and refraction of theses waves in media and at media boundaries are quantified. The rules given to you in first-year physics on how light behaves when incident on different materials is derived from fundamental properties of Maxwell’s equations and boundary conditions. The use of materials in different geometries to form technologically important wave guides is explained. The concept of electromagnetic potentials is introduced along with gauge theory and vector potentials. This allows for a treatment of electric and magnetic radiation, both arising from accelerating charges. Finally, electrodynamics and relativity come together and the transformation of electromagnetic fields in moving reference frames is described.


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