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Boundary condition for Maxwell equations

  1. Jun 8, 2010 #1
    It's obvious that if Maxwell equations are fulfilled by some [tex] E(x,y,z,t)[/tex]
    and [tex] B(x,y,z,t)[/tex], they are also fullfiled by [tex] E(x,y,z,t)+ E_0[/tex]
    and [tex] B(x,y,z,t)+B_0[/tex], where [tex] E_0[/tex] and [tex] B_0[/tex]
    are constants. This freedom has physical significance as it changes the Lorentz force
    which act on a charge. It implies that together with Maxwell equation we should
    give some boundary condition. But unfortunately I can't find any book where they are
    explicitly given (Dirichlet and Neumann boundary condition are most often introduced for
    equation for potential not field).
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 8, 2010 #2


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    But the E and B fields CAN be transformed into their respective potential fields. That's why we only use potential and the Dirichlet/Neumann boundary conditions. In fact, in many instances, one applies the Green's function with the boundary conditions. That, in principle, should completely define the field problem.

    Edit: er.. never mind. I just realized that you have a time-dependence field.

  4. Jun 8, 2010 #3


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    It depends on the problem. If it is free-space, then there is an implicit requirement that the fields must go to zero at infinity for uniqueness to be guaranteed (Sommerfeld Radiation Condition). If you have a discontinuous permeability and/or permittivity then you can deduce the boundary conditions from the partial differential equations themselves.

    Weng Cho Chew's "Fields and Waves in Inhomogeneous Media" discusses both.
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