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Phys Rev Lett. 2006 Sep 29;97(13):133902. Epub 2006 Sep 26.

Optical momentum transfer to absorbing mie particles.

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  • 1Research Laboratory of Electronics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


The momentum transfer to absorbing particles is derived from the Lorentz force density without prior assumption of the momentum of light in media. We develop a view of momentum conservation rooted in the stress tensor formalism that is based on the separation of momentum contributions to bound and free currents and charges consistent with the Lorentz force density. This is in contrast with the usual separation of material and field contributions. The theory is applied to predict a decrease in optical momentum transfer to Mie particles due to absorption, which contrasts the common intuition based on the scattering and absorption by Rayleigh particles.

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