Register to reply 
Charge and the Equivalence Principle 
Share this thread: 
#1
May2311, 12:52 PM

P: 250

A charged particle is held at rest inside a box in gravityfree space. The box is accelerated uniformly. The charge theoretically radiates electromagnetic power. Now picture the same box held at rest in a gravitational field. Does the charge radiate?



#2
May2311, 01:07 PM

Sci Advisor
PF Gold
P: 5,059

Both classically and with QED, a detector comoving with a uniformly accelerating charge will detect no radiation. Both classically and with QED, a stationary detector and charge in gravity will detect no radiation. Experimentally, there is no information. The predicted effect for feasible experiments is too small to measure or isolate from other effects. [Edit: Some corrections] 


#3
May2311, 01:22 PM

Sci Advisor
P: 8,553

Yes, a uniformly accelerated charge radiates.
And the EP does not apply. See reference [2] within http://arxiv.org/abs/0806.0464 


#4
May2311, 01:29 PM

Sci Advisor
PF Gold
P: 5,059

Charge and the Equivalence Principle
When saying a uniformly accelerated charge radiates, you have to distinguish as observed by whom? A comoving detector or an inertial detector. I can point to strong recent consensus that the comoving detector will not detect radiation. 


#5
May2311, 01:47 PM

Sci Advisor
PF Gold
P: 5,059




#6
May2311, 02:26 PM

Sci Advisor
P: 8,553

Maybe the EP can be "saved" in particular instances, although it generally doesn't apply to charged particles (eg. it's difficult to have a freely falling charged particle, since it will generally be acted on by its backreaction).
Anyway, to go with this line of thought, can a comoving observer ever detect radiation? I generally think of radiation as a far field concept. 


#7
May2311, 02:55 PM

Sci Advisor
PF Gold
P: 5,059

http://www.ofb.net/~wnoise/misc/deAl...5_unif_rad.pdf I think the biggest issue for EP isn't the stationary case, but the falling charge case. The case to compare is an accelerated detector in the field of an inertial charge, versus a free falling charge in a gravitational field. Your reference says something about the latter case (indirectly). However, the former case is complicated by the fact that an accelerating detector detects radiation even in empty space in QED (the Unruh effect). However, sticking to classical, do you know of definitive reference on accelerted detector in coulomb field? Oh, here's a good reference for that case: http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/grqc/pdf/9405/9405050v1.pdf This refers to classical analysis that an accelerated detector would detect radiation. This would rescue EP for falling charges. However, they argue that quantum mechanically, this is not true. But they also believe: "In the case studied above, every approaches must agree with the fact that an inertial electric charge must stay at rest with respect to, say, a companion uncharged particle." which your reference disputes. This is why I retain the feeling that this area is not completely settled, and it doesn't help that the effects are too small to measure. 


#8
May2311, 03:14 PM

Sci Advisor
P: 8,553

It is a distinguished line of thought to say the EP does apply to charged particles, and it is "saved" by careful thinking in each specific case  eg. Peierls himself (!) in one of his two "Surprises" books, and more recently by Almeida and Saa http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0506049 .
However, my own thinking is that it is better to say that the EP does not apply to charged particles in phenomena involving second derivatives. Eg. J L Martin's and Rindler's textbooks state this caveat, as do Sotiriou et al in their statement of the various EPs in http://arxiv.org/abs/0707.2748 . The inapplicability of the EP for charged particles due to backreaction has a long history, with recent articles being Poisson et al's http://arxiv.org/abs/1102.0529 and Gron and Naess's http://arxiv.org/abs/0806.0464 However, the laws involving charged fields and their interaction with force fields need only first derivatives to state, and can enter Lagrangians with minimal coupling to the metric, and in that sense  obeying minimal coupling  charged particles do obey the EP. 


#9
May2311, 03:30 PM

P: 250

Thanks, guys. I personally think that the following resolves the conundrum: A charge, subjected to a constant FORCE, does not radiate (although it accelerates). Thus the accelerating charge does not radiate, and, as per the EP, it does not radiate when held at rest in the gravitational field. But note that if the force on the accelerating charge is not constant, then it will radiate. Or, equivalently, when the charge's position is changed in a nonconstant gravitational field, it will radiate (even if the change occurs at a constant velocity).



#10
May2311, 04:08 PM

Sci Advisor
P: 8,553

Although I think it is generally not useful to talk about the EP and charged particles, I do think this is paper by Harpaz and Saoker is really very cute http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/9910019



#11
May2311, 04:21 PM

Sci Advisor
PF Gold
P: 5,059




#12
May2311, 04:26 PM

Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
P: 5,597

The classic paper on this, which I don't think anyone has referenced yet, is C. MoretteDeWitt and B.S. DeWitt, "Falling Charges," Physics, 1,320 (1964).
Some other papers, which people may or may not have referenced already: http://arxiv.org/abs/grqc/9303025 http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/9910019 http://arxiv.org/abs/0905.2391 http://arxiv.org/abs/0806.0464 PF user Sam Gralla has done research in this area  he's a coauthor of one of the papers above. An excellent, readable presentation of Feynman's point of view is available online here: http://www.mathpages.com/home/kmath528/kmath528.htm 


#13
May2311, 04:58 PM

Sci Advisor
P: 8,553

More generally, within GR, local for the EP means no second derivatives or higher, and how can one have radiation without second derivatives? 


#14
May2411, 12:47 AM

Sci Advisor
PF Gold
P: 5,059

http://arxiv.org/abs/grqc/0006037 And the following argues violation of EP for charges: http://arxiv.org/abs/grqc/9909035 So, between all the papers on this thread (all modern), virtually every possible point of view as to which cases radiate and which don't is argued. Further, the EP is considered successful for opposite reasons in different papers; and considered violated for opposite reasons. It does not appear to me there is any strong consensus. 


#15
May2411, 01:18 AM

Sci Advisor
PF Gold
P: 5,059

Here is a recent review of this whole controversy from April of this year (I've just started reading this, so don't know the conclusions or plausibility yet):
http://www.itp.unihannover.de/~giul...Talks/Lyle.pdf This author wrote a whole book on this a while ago. 


#16
May2411, 10:04 AM

Sci Advisor
PF Gold
P: 5,059

I highly recommend the reference in my last post. While I doubt it settles the matter to everyone's satisfaction, it reviews and critiques the whole history in a refreshingly accessible yet adequately technical level.



#17
May2411, 10:53 AM

P: 250

For those who wonder if Abraham and Lorentz (vs. Lamor) got it right re radiated power, a Google search on "a nonradiating accelerating charge" may be of interest.



#18
May2411, 04:24 PM

P: 298

Tom Roberts explained it like this:
"This really hinges on what one means by "radiation", and classically there are two reasonable but different meanings: A) a nonzero radiation term in the LienardWiechert fields, which is proportional to betadot, the charge's acceleration B) a selfpropagating disturbance in the electromagnetic field with E, B, and v mutually orthogonal (v is the direction of propagation) In addition, we also require radiation fields to be time dependent  constant fields are never considered to be radiation. (B) always satisfies this, but in certain highlysymmetric situations, (A) can have a nonzero betadot term and yet have constant fields and thus nothing we consider to be radiation. In classical electrodynamics, the claim "any accelerated charge emits radiation" refers to radiation(A), but is rather simplistic as it ignores the requirement of timedependent fields. Radiation(B) is, of course, the type in a light beam or radio wave. A uniformly accelerated charge emits radiation(A) but not radiation(B). In classical electrodynamics, an observer coaccelerated and comoving with a uniformly accelerated charge will see constant E and B fields (from the symmetry of the physical situation), so this observer will see no radiation of either type. This is the situation that applies via the equivalence principle to a charged particle sitting on the surface of the earth, observed by an observer on the same surface. In the abovereferenced forum thread, someone claimed a dc current in a bent wire is prevented from radiating by quantum effects. This is wrong, and in classical electrodynamics that current has a nonzero betadot term in the LW fields, but it is constant in time and thus is not considered to be radiation. (Nobody in that thread pointed out the two different meanings of "radiation", and they got confused by puns.)" 


Register to reply 
Related Discussions  
Principle of Equivalence  Special & General Relativity  140  
Equivalence principle & accelerated charge  Special & General Relativity  14  
Principle of equivalence  Special & General Relativity  80  
Equivalence of DAlembert's principle and Action Principle  Classical Physics  4  
Equivalence principle  Special & General Relativity  15 