Photon momentum and optical forces in cavities

Mikko Partanen, Teppo Häyrynen, Jani Oksanen, Jukka Tulkki

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During the past century, the electromagnetic field momentum in material media has been under debate in the Abraham-Minkowski controversy as convincing arguments have been advanced in favor of both the Abraham and Minkowski forms of photon momentum. Here we study the photon momentum and optical forces in cavity structures in the cases of dynamical and steady-state fields. In the description of the single-photon transmission process, we use a field-kinetic one-photon theory. Our model suggests that in the medium photons couple with the induced atomic dipoles forming polariton quasiparticles with the Minkowski form momentum. The Abraham momentum can be associated to the electromagnetic field part of the coupled polariton state. The polariton with the Minkowski momentum is shown to obey the uniform center of mass of energy motion that has previously been interpreted to support only the Abraham momentum. When describing the steady-state nonequilibrium field distributions we use the recently developed quantized fluctuational electrodynamics (QFED) formalism. While allowing detailed studies of light propagation and quantum field fluctuations in interfering structures, our methods also provide practical tools for modeling optical energy transfer and the formation of thermal balance in nanodevices as well as studying electromagnetic forces in optomechanical devices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Spie
Number of pages8
PublisherSPIE - International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication date2016
Article number974217
ISBN (Print)9781628419771
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventPhysics and Simulation of Optoelectronic Devices XXIV - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: 15 Feb 201618 Feb 2016


ConferencePhysics and Simulation of Optoelectronic Devices XXIV
CountryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA
SeriesProceedings of S P I E - International Society for Optical Engineering


  • photon number
  • photon momentum
  • optical forces
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Optical forces
  • Photon momentum
  • Photon number
  • Quantum optics
  • Electrodynamics
  • Electromagnetic fields
  • Energy transfer
  • Light
  • Momentum
  • Optoelectronic devices
  • Particle beams
  • Phonons
  • Quantum theory
  • Abraham-Minkowski controversies
  • Electromagnetic forces
  • Fluctuational electrodynamics
  • Optical energy transfer
  • Optical force
  • Photon numbers
  • Quantum field fluctuations
  • Photons
  • Mechanical effects of light
  • Optical propagation, transmission and absorption
  • Nanophotonic devices and technology
  • Polaritons
  • light propagation
  • light transmission
  • nanophotonics
  • polaritons
  • quantum interference phenomena
  • radiation pressure
  • nanodevices
  • electromagnetic forces
  • optomechanical devices
  • thermal balance
  • optical energy transfer
  • interfering structures
  • quantum field fluctuations
  • QFED
  • quantized fluctuational electrodynamics formalism
  • steady-state nonequilibrium field distribution
  • mass of energy motion
  • Minkowski momentum
  • coupled polariton state
  • Abraham momentum
  • polariton quasiparticles
  • induced atomic dipoles
  • medium photons
  • field-kinetic one-photon theory
  • single-photon transmission process
  • dynamical field
  • cavity structures
  • Abraham-Minkowski controversy
  • material media
  • electromagnetic field momentum

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