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Tracing back an electromagnetic wave to its source

  1. Nov 9, 2015 #1
    Suppose you have a solution to the Maxwell's equations in vacuum, and now you want to find what kind of charge/current system create the wave in the first place, can this be done?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 9, 2015 #2

    ZapperZ

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    You have not given sufficient information. All you've given is that the medium is a vacuum. You have not described the boundary conditions, and the relative size of the EM wavelengths to any confined space (i.e. if this is in a waveguide).

    Zz.
     
  4. Nov 9, 2015 #3
    I only have a vector function E and a vector function B that satisfy all the source-free Maxwell's equations.
     
  5. Nov 9, 2015 #4
    And if that is not enough, then how much more information is required?
     
  6. Nov 9, 2015 #5

    Dale

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    If it is source-free/vacuum then by definition there are no charges or currents.
     
  7. Nov 9, 2015 #6

    ZapperZ

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    I've just told you! The nature of the boundary conditions! Are these E and B fields solved in a waveguide? In free space? And if there is a boundary, what kind of a boundary is it?

    For example, if you are given a standing wave in a waveguide, then I don't see how you can have the ability to trace where the "source" is.

    Zz.
     
  8. Nov 10, 2015 #7

    marcusl

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    If you know the fields everywhere on a closed surface that surrounds the source, then you can solve for an equivalent multipole source that produces the same fields as the real source.
     
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