November 2012
1 Electrostatics
Special case in which all the source charges are stationary
Coulombs Law
The force on a test charge Q due to a single point charge q is propor
tional to the product of the charges and inversely proportional to the
square of the separation distance
F =
1
4
0
qQ
r
2
Permitivity of free space
0
= 8.85 10
12
C
2
Nm
2
Coulombs law and the principle of superposition constitute the phys
ical input for electrostatics the rest is mathematical elaboration of
these rules
The Electric Field
F = QE where E is the electric eld
E(r) =
1
4
0
_
V
(r)
r
2
d where r is the vector from dq (dl, da, d)
Gausss Law
The ux through any closed surface is a measure of the total charge
inside
_
E da =
1
0
Q
enc
Gausss Law in dierential form E =
1
0
?
The divergence of E is the Laplacian of V. Gausss law says that
2
V =
0
This is known as Poissons Equation
Laplaces Equation
In regions where there is no charge = 0, Poissons equation reduces
to Laplaces equation
2
V = 0
2
In problems involving conductors itself may be unknown and the
only thing we can control directly is the total charge or perhaps the
potential of each conductor. In these cases it is useful tot think of
the problem in dierential form as in Poissons equation. Usually, we
are interested in nding the potential in a region where = 0, which
reduces Poissons equation to Laplaces equation as above. Written in
cartesian coordinates looks like
2
V
x
2
+
2
V
y
2
+
2
V
z
2
= 0
This formula is so fundamental to the subject that one might almost
say electrostatics is the study of Laplaces equation.
Not that this is PDE. The solution of an algebraic equation, or a
number of them, are one or more numbers. The solution to a PDE is
a multidimensional function. Furthermore, it is a linear PDE since it
only contains V and its various derivatives.
The Laplace equation is an elliptical PDE, which are usually associated
with solutions of elds in static situations.
Laplaces Equation in One Dimension
Supposing V only depends on one variable, say x it reduces to
2
V
x
2
= 0, V
= 0
The general solution is V (x) = mx +b. It contains two undeter
mined constants (m and b), as is appropriate for a secondorder
(ordinary) dierential equation. It is trivial but good to note that
the maxima and minima of these solutions occur at the edges, and
not internally.
Laplaces Equation in Two Dimensions
In two dimensions, Laplaces equation reduces to
2
V
x
2
+
2
V
y
2
= 0, V
xx
+V
yy
= 0
Thus, it is no longer an ordinary dierential equation and rather
a PDE. Its solutions include all analytic functions. Similar to
the onedimensional case, this does not allow for local minima
3
or maxima since there both V
xx
and V
yy
would have to be neg
ative. Any kind of curvature in one direction would have to be
balanced by the opposite curvature in the other direction. Thus,
the solutions to the Laplace equation can have no local minima
or maxima, except at the edges of the domain we are considering.
Laplaces Equation in Three Dimensions
Laplaces equation is not reduced and looks as the general above
Like before, the solutions to the 3D Laplace equation can have
no local minima or maxima, except at the edges of the domain
we are considering.
Uniqueness Theorem
This theorem shows that if we have found a solution to the
Laplace equation, by whatever means which satises all of the
boundary conditions, then it is the equation and there are no
others.
Suppose we have a domain with appropriate boundary conditions
and have found solutions V
1
and V
2
. Since the Laplace equation
is linear, V
= V
1
V
2
is also a solution satisfying the same
boundary conditions. Thus, V
= 0 everywhere and V
1
= V
2
everywhere and the two solutions are identical.
Solution by Seperation of Variables
This amounts to attacking the Laplace equation directly. It is
applicable in circumstances where the potential (V) or the charge
density () is specied on the boundaries of some region and we
are asked to nd the potential of the interior.
Basically we look for solutions that are products of functions,
each depending on only one of the coordinates. I.e. in which
V (x, y) = V (x)V (y).
Putting this condition into the Laplace equation yields
Y
d
2
X
dx
2
+X
d
2
X
dy
2
= 0, Y X
+XY
= 0
which can be written as
1
X
d
2
X
dx
2
+
1
Y
d
2
X
dy
2
= 0,
X
X
+
Y
Y
= 0
4
If we change the rst term and leave the other unchanged then
their sum would change which is inconsistent with the dierential
equation. The only way to obtain consistency is if both terms are
constant, thus we must have
d
2
X
dx
2
= CX,
d
2
Y
dy
2
= CY
Now we have reduced the PDE to a set of ordinary dierential
equations.
Applying this method to a particular geometry with horizontal
plates one above the other at distance d such that V = 0 for
y = 0 and y = d and V = V
0
for x = 0. Also allow V = 0 as
x since the distance to the charged plate is very large then.
Considering the solution in the ydirection we get Y (y) = Asin(
Cy)+
Bcos(
C =
m
d
and any linear superposition of functions such as this satisfy the
boundary conditions (Uniqueness Theorem) we can write
Y (y) =
m=1
a
m
sin
_
my
d
_
Looking at X(x) we get
X(x) = A
Cx
+B
Cx
and since X 0 as x we get A
= 0
Together we have
V (x, y) =
m=1
a
m
sin
_
my
d
_
e
mx/d
We have now satised three of four boundary conditions and need
to choose a
m
to satisfy V = V
0
at x = 0. None of the terms in
the series on their own satisfy this condition, but perhaps a linear
combination of them does.
To nd a set of coecients a
m
such that V = V
0
at x = 0, se
multiply both sides by sin(py/d and integrate from 0 to d on
the left getting
d
_
0
V
0
sin
_
py
d
_
dy =
_
0 if p is even
2dV
0
p
if p is odd
5
and on the right getting
d
_
0
sin
_
my
d
_
sin
_
py
d
_
dy =
_
0 if m = n
a
p
d
2
if m = p
nding the coecients a
m
are given by
a
m
=
_
0 if m is even
4V
0
m
if m is odd
Finally giving the electric potential by
V (x, y) =
4V
0
m=1,3,5...
1
m
sin
_
my
d
_
e
mx/d
If necessary, the electric potential can be found from E = V .
The uniqueness theorem tells us that this is the unique solution.
Dipoles
An electric dipole consists of two equal and opposite charges q sepa
rated by a distance d. To nd the potential and an arbitrary point P
let r
q
r
_
and when r d
q
r
+
q
r
=
d
r
2
cos()
giving
V (r)
=
1
4
0
qd
r
2
cos()
The dipole moment, p, has the vector representation p = qd where d
has the direction from the negative charge to the positive charge which
simplies the potential to
V =
1
4
0
p r
r
2
The dipole then has torque in the presence of a uniform electric eld
E given by
= p E
A dipole has a potential energy associated with its orientation in an
electric eld. Starting with = 0 i.e. aligned with the electric eld,
the work required to rotate the the dipole to an angle is
U = p E
6
2 Electric Fields in Matter
Dielectrics
Electrical insulator that can be polarised by an applied electric eld.
When a dielectric is placed in an electric eld, electric charges do
not ow through the material as they do in a conductor, but only
slightly shift from their average equilibrium positions causing dielectric
polarisation
All charges are attached to specic atoms or molecules and they can
only move a bit within the atom or molecule
The electric elds can distort the charge distribution by either stretch
ing or rotating them
Polarization
When a neutral atom is placed in an electric eld E the nucleus is
pushed in the direction if the eld and the electron cloud is forced the
opposite way.
This balance of the eld pulling the regions apart and their attraction
back together leaves the atom polarised with a tiny dipole moment p
in the same direction as E. They are proportional by
p = E
where is the atomic polarisability dependent on the detailed struc
ture of the atom
Polar molecules are ones that are not neutral to begin with i.e. they
have permanent dipole moments (H
2
0)
When a polar molecule is placed in a uniform electric eld E, the force
on the positive and negative ends cancel but there is a resultant torque
= p E
Where is in a direction as to align p with E
When a polar molecule is placed in a nonuniform electric eld, there
will be a net force on the dipole in addition to the torque. The force
is given by
F = (p )E
Whether uniform or nonuniform, we get the same result: a lot of little
dipoles pointing along the direction of the eld, which is called being
polarised and measured by P dipole moment per unit volume
7
The Field of a Polarized Object
To nd the the eld of a collection of these dipoles we integrate through
the surface.
Dening the macroscopic polarisation, P, to be the dipole moment per
unit volume, the potential of a surface charge becomes
b
= P n
and the potential for a volume charge becomes
b
= P
This means that the potential (and hence the eld) of a polarised
object is the sam as that produced by a volume charge density plus a
surface charge density. Instead of integrating the contributions of all
the innitesimal dipoles we can just nd the bound charged and then
calculate the elds they produce in the same way as we calculate the
eld of any other volume and surface charges.
Supposing that for some reason P(x) depend on time we get a polar
ization current J
b
given by
J
b
=
P
t
Understanding these distributions
b
and
b
are perfectly genuine accumulations of charge
Imagining a long string of dipoles, the head of one cancels its
neighbours tail. However at the end of the string there is still
one positive charge and one negative charge remaining, making
the string of dipoles look like one bug dipole.
These net charges at the end are called bound charges to remem
ber that thy cannot be removed
The surface charge density
b
is the net charge at the end of one
of those strings per unit area (with a directional factor),
q
A
The charge density per unit volume arises from a nonuniform
polarization inside an object where you get net accumulations of
bound charge within the material as well as on the surface giving
b
or the charge per unit volume
q
V
When we consider that we are actually working with physical dipoles
rather than pure ones, we can no longer presume to represent discrete
molecular dipoles by a continuous distribution, namely the macro
scopic polarisation P. This is because inside the dielectric the electric
8
eld is fantastically complicated. This microscopic eld would be near
impossible to calculate which is why we only consider the macroscopic
eld which is the average eld over large regions.
For example the average electric eld inside a sphere can be found
easily by Gausss law is
E
in
=
1
4
0
p
R
3
and the total dipole moment is p = qd = (
4
3
R
3
)P which doing
the calculations gives the macroscopic eld by the potential where
the integral runs over the entire volume of the dielectric.
This all revolves around the fact that the average eld over any
sphere due to the charge inside is the same as the eld at the
centre of a uniformly polarized sphere with the same dipole mo
ment. This means we can replace a crazy microscopic charge
distribution by a nice smooth distribution of perfect dipoles.
The Electric Displacement
The eect of polarization is to produce accumulations of bound charge
within the dielectric and on the surface. The eld due to the polariza
tion of the medium is just the eld of this bound charge.
The eld due to everything else in the medium (the free charge) [i.e.
that is not a result of polarization] is called the electric displacement
eld, D, and is related to the electric eld E and the polarization eld
P by
D =
0
E+P
which in terms of Gausss law looks like
D =
f
,
_
D da = Q
f
enc
where
f
is in the natural way the density of free charges
This is useful because it makes reference only to free charges, which is
what we can control. In a typical problem we know
f
and are tasked
to nd
b
Linear Dielectrics
Provided E is not too strong, the polarization is proportional to the
eld by
P =
0
e
E
9
where
e
is the constant of proportionality called the electric suscep
tibility of the medium depending on the microscopic structure of the
substance in question. Materials that obey this relation are called
linear dielectrics.
Since this deals with the total electric eld, it is best to begin by
calculating the electric displacement eld D. Thus it is handy to note
that
D =
0
r
E
where
r
denes the dielectric constant and
r
= 1 +
e
These relations describe the response of a large but nite class of
materials for suciently low eld strengths
ClausiusMossotti equation
For dense media the microscopic polarizability of the media can
be related to the macroscopic polarizability by:
=
0
N
r
1
K
r
+ (1 +K)
where K is some positive constant and N is the density of the
dipoles
Gausss law in dielectrics
Since we have control over the free charges but not the bound charges,
we deal with D
Consider a dielectric sphere of radius R and dielectric constant
r
with
a free charge Q at its centre. We are asked to nd E everywhere
Use Gausss law for the electric displacement eld, D
_
D dA =
_
f
dr
D =
Q
4r
2
r
remember that
f
=
q
V
so Q =
_
f
dr
Now note that D is orthogonal to the surface and so the eld
does not depend on the bound charges at all
1
so E easily come
out. Remember to add
r
for the eld within the material
1
I need some help understanding this!
10
Energy in Dielectric Systems
The work required to bring together M charges together from innity
in a vacuum where the charges are taken to be continuously distributed
and so charge accumulation is included can be shown to be
W
M
=
1
2
M
i=1
Q
i
V
i
W =
1
2
_
V dr
=
0
2
_
V ( E)dr
=
0
2
_
V ( [V ])dr
=
=
0
2
_
(V )
2
dr
=
0
2
_
E
2
dr
In a dielectric is replaced by
f
thus
W =
1
2
_
V (x)
f
(x)dr
=
=
1
2
_
D Edr
the energy per unit volume is
D E
2
=
0
r
E E
2
=
D D
2
0
r
Capacitors
Without a dielectric, a parallel plate capacitor with ares A and sepa
ration d:
E =
0
=
Q
0
A
and
V = Ed =
Qd
0
A
which gives capacitance
C =
Q
V
=
0
A
d
11
For a dielectric lled capacitor with
r
, D is unchanged (free charge
eld) and then notice that E is just divided by
r
so the potential is
just divided by
r
V = Ed =
Qd
0
A
and the capacitance is multiplied by
r
C =
Q
V
=
0
r
A
d
The reason for this is that the dielectric become polarised in the capac
itor and the bound charges set up a eld that partly cancels the eld
due to the free charges so the potential goes down and the capacitance
goes up.
The potential energy U (noting that D =
f
= Q/A) is
D D
2
0
r
, U =
Q
2
d
2A
0
r
=
1
2
CV
2
Polar Molecules
As we stated before, polar molecules are ones that have an intrinsic
(i.e. permanent) dipole moment. In the absence of an electric eld
P = 0.
If an electric eld is applied the dipoles attempt to align with it but
cant quite do it because of thermal motion.
The polarisation of the medium at temp T is given by the Langevin
equation:
P = Np
_
coth
_
pE
kT
_
1
pE/kT
_
if pE/kT 1 then,
P Np
_
pE
3kT
_
if pE/kT 1 then
P Np
ie the dipoles are aligned with the eld.
Dielectric consisting of polar molecules can have large dielectric con
stants due to alignment of the intrinsic dipole moments. But as the
frequency of an applied eld increases the intrinsic dipole moments
cannot react quick enough to follow the eld. The increasing fre
quency of an applied eld changes the dielectric constant correspond
ing to induced polarization due to the displacement of electrons only.
So at dierent frequencies, the dielectric constants of polar molecules
changes.
12
3 Magnetostatics
The Lorentz Force Law
A moving charge produces both an electric eld E and a magnetic eld
B
The magnetic force in a charge Q, moving with velocity v on a mag
netic eld B is
F
mag
= Q(v B)
known as the Lorentz force law which in the presence of both electric
and magnetic elds is
F
mag
= Q[E+ (v B)]
Magnetic forces do no work! Since (v B) is perpendicular to v
(v B) v = 0
Magnetic forces alter the direction in which a particle moves but not
its speed.
Perpendicular velocity and magnetic eld
Consider the motion of a charged particle in a uniform magnetic
eld. As there is no component of the force parallel to B the ve
locity component in this direction, v
r
= qv
B
from which we obtain the radius of motion (Larmor radius) and
is angular frequency (cyclotron frequency)
r
L
=
mv
qB
,
c
=
qB
m
The Magnetic Mirror
If the magnetic eld increases in the direction of motion of the spi
ralling particles, the particle can be reected. As no work is done on
the particle, kinetic energy remains constant, i.e.
K =
1
2
mv
2
+
1
2
mv
2
= constant
Also, as there is no torque on the particle, angular momentum also
remains constant i.e.
L = mv
r = constant
13
Combining this equation with that for the Larmor radius, we nd that
1
2
mv
2
= K
qBL
2m
where K and L are constants of the motion.
If B increases suciently then v
N
i
q
i
v
i
drift
Steady currents produce constant magnetic elds which are described
by the BivotSavart law
B(r) =
0
4
I
_
dl r
r
2
14
The Divergence and curl of B
Magnetic elds have nonzero curl, in calculating the curl we nd
_
B dl =
0
I
enc
where I
enc
=
_
J da. This is called Amp`eres Law
Applying Stokes theorem we nd
B =
0
J
We also nd that the divergence of a magnetic eld is
B = 0
Comparison: Magnetostatics and Electrostatics
The divergence and curl of the electrostatic eld are
_
E =
1
0
Gausss Law
E = 0 no name
The divergence and curl of the magnetostatic eld are
_
B = 0 no name
B =
0
J Amp`eres Law
They are related by
F = Q(E+v B)
The electric eld diverges away from a positive charge as the magnetic
eld curls around a current.
The Hall Eect
Consider the eect of a magnetic eld on the charge carriers in a
conductor, such that the magnetic eld is perpendicular to the current
direction
If the current is in the x direction and the magnetic eld in the y
direction, electrons (which drift in the x direction) are deected in
the z direction, causing a transverse electric eld to be set up. Under
steady conditions the force on the electrons due to this eld, the Hall
eld, are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to the magnetic
force. Thus
eE
h
= ev
drift
B =
jB
N
15
where N is the density of charge carriers, from which we obtain the
Hall coecient, dened as
R
H
=
E
H
jB
=
1
Ne
As E
H
, j and B are all quantities that can be measured, this provides
a means of measuring charge carrier densities, which is particularly
useful for semiconductors where N is signicantly smaller than for
metals. The Hall eect also gives the sign of the charges, which in
semiconductors can be either positive (conduction by electrons) or
negative (conduction by holes).
4 Magnetic Fields in Matter
Magnetization
All magnetic phenomena are due to electric charges in motion
For macroscopic purposes these tiny current loops (electrons orbiting
a nuclei) can be treated as magnetic dipoles. Ordinarily, these dipoles
cancel each other out but when a magnetic eld is applied a net align
ment of these dipoles occurs and the medium becomes magnetically
polarised (magnetized).
We describe the state of magnetic polarization by the vector quantity
M called the magnetization (M = Nm)
Diamagnets
Materials that acquire a magnetization parallel to B
Paramagnets
Materials that acquire a magnetization opposite to B
Ferromagnets
These materials retain their magnetization even after the external
eld has been removed. For these materials, the magnetization is
not determined by the present eld but by the magnetic history
of the object.
16
Torque and Forces on a Magnetic Dipole
The torque in any localized current distribution in the presence
of a uniform eld is
= mB
where m = Iab = iA is the magnetic dipole moment of the loop.
The net force on a current loop is
F = (m B)
The Field of a Magnetized Object
The potential of a surface current turns out to be
J
s
= M n
and the potential of a volume current turns out to be
J
i
= M
where the subscripts stand for surface and internal and n is the
normal pointing outwards from the medium. These are both bound!
The Auxiliary Field H
The eld due to magnetization of the medium is just the eld produced
by the bound currents. The eld attributed to bound currents plus
that attributed to everything else (free currents owing through wires
imbedded in the magnetized substance) can be written as
J = J
b
+J
f
This is not new physics, the two currents got there by dierent means,
the free current from being hooked up to a battery (the transport of
charge) and the bound current from magnetization (from the many
aligned dipoles)
We dene H then as
H =
1
0
BM
H = J
f
_
H dl = i
free
where i
free
is the total free current passing through the amperian loop.
H plays a similar role to D, as D allowed us to write Gausss law
in terms of free charge alone, H permits us to write Amp`eres law in
terms of free current alone. Bound current like bound charge comes
along for the ride
17
Constitutive relations
We require a constitutive relation to dene the properties of the medium.
To this end we introduce the magnetic susceptibility
m
, which is de
ned as
M =
m
H
With this relationship between H and M, we nd that the relation
ships between B, H and M are
B =
0
(H+M) =
0
(1 +
m
)H = H
where = (1 +
m
)
0
The quantity /
0
= 1 +
m
is the relative permeability. The various
kinds of magnetic properties of materials can be characterized by the
value of
m
. For both diamagnetic and paramagnetic materials 
m

1, with negative values for diamagnetic materials; for ferromagnetic
materials 
m
 1.
Ferromagnetism
Like paramagnetism, ferromagnetism involves the magnetic dipoles
associated with the spins of unpaired electrons
In ferromagnets however each dipole likes to point in the direction of
its neighbour. The alignment occurs in relatively small patches called
domains.
In order to produce a permanent magnet, you shift domain boundaries
in response to an external eld. This process is not entirely reversible
and even when the external eld is removed, there is a preponderance
of domains in the original magnet and you have a permanent magnet.
Application of an increasing magnetic eld initially causes those do
mains with magnetisation directions close to the applied eld to grow
at the expense of others, and nally the direction of magnetisation
turns to that of the eld.
For a ferromagnetic material the relationship between B and H is
nonlinear and at any point in the BH curve the eective value of
the relative permeability = (1 +
m
)
0
is much greater than unity,
typically of the order of 1000. Thus the value of B is determined
predominantly by M, with only a minor contribution from H. With
further increase ofH the value of B saturates, because M saturates
with all dipoles now aligned with B. The eect of continuing increase
in H has a minimal eect.
18