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Light bending with electric or magnetic field?

  1. Jul 23, 2014 #1
    If photons are oscillating electric and magnetic fields, then we should be able to deflect photons trajectories by external electric or magnetic field, right? Are there any experiments, either successful or unsuccessful, that attempted to bend the light in some such way?
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 23, 2014 #2


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    The electromagnetic field interacts with charged media. The electromagnetic field itself is uncharged and thus on the classical level does not interact with itself.

    However, there are quantum corrections, leading to an effective four-photon coupling, describing the elastic scattering of two photons. This process is known as Delbrück scattering. To my knowledge it has not been observed yet in an experiment.

    The same is true for the Wheeler effect, i.e., the annihilation of two photons to an electron-positron pair (the opposite reaction, i.e., pair annihilation two two photons is well studied).
  4. Jul 24, 2014 #3
  5. Jul 24, 2014 #4


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    From first reading, it appears that the experiment in question is referring to transmission of a light signal inside different materials with external magnetic fields. It does not appear to say that they detected magnetic deflection of light in vacuum.
  6. Jul 25, 2014 #5
    Yes, but it's still something, they claim it's the first. Don't know when it was published though.
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