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On a Generalization of the Power-Zienau-Woolley Transformation in Quantum Electrodynamics and Atomic Field Equations

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Publication details

JournalProceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series A, Mathematical and Physical Sciences
DatePublished - 4 Jun 1974
Issue number1613
Number of pages15
Pages (from-to)235-249
Original languageEnglish


A canonical transformation is performed on the conventional Hamiltonian for the electromagnetic radiation field and an assemblage of neutral molecules in interaction. The new Hamiltonian has interaction energies expressed in terms of the electromagnetic fields alone and these energies have direct physical significance. The terms linear in e are the multipole interactions, both electric and magnetic, and the term quadratic in e is a generalization of the elementary diamagnetic energy shift. The intermolecular Coulomb energies have cancelled with transverse polarization fields in the new Hamiltonian, although the intramolecular Coulomb potentials are left unaffected. The equations of motion that follow from the new Hamiltonian are deduced. They are the so-called atomic-field equations for the Maxwell fields and Schrodinger equation for an electron wave in a transverse electromagnetic field. The former are the microscopic analogues of Maxwell's equations in a medium (not restricted to dipole polarization fields) and the latter are dependent on the field strengths alone (not explicit functions of the vector potential).

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