Quantum electrodynamics in the presence of a dielectric

Eberlein, Claudia and Robaschik, Dieter (2006) Quantum electrodynamics in the presence of a dielectric. Journal of Physics A, 39 (21). pp. 6293-6298. ISSN 0305-4470

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We discuss the formulation of quantized macroscopic electrodynamics interacting with Dirac particles. In particular, we consider the case of a dielectric half-space characterized by a constant, i.e. frequency-independent refractive index n. In contrast to perfectly reflecting boundary conditions, the matching conditions for the field strengths at the surface of the dielectric lead to the appearance of evanescent waves, and their presence modifies the representation of the photon propagator considerably. As an example of a one-loop calculation we determine the self-energy of a free electron on the vacuum side of the boundary. We find that in the limit of perfect reflectivity of the surface the self-energy disagrees with the one that emerges from calculations that assume perfect reflectivity from the outset. We develop calculational techniques for coping with problems that arise specifically due to the imperfect reflection at the surface.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Physics and Astronomy
Depositing User: Claudia Eberlein
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 19:52
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2012 11:31
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/22635
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