Radiation reaction in strong fields from an alternative perspective

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2014
Thesis identifier
  • T13841
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • Current classical theory of radiation reaction has several deficiencies such as "runaway solutions" and violation of causality. The Landau-Lifshitz approximation to the exact equation introduced by Lorentz, Abraham and Dirac is widely used, though questions remain regarding its domain of validity. This thesis explores an alternative treatment of the motion of a radiating electron, based on an equation first proposed by Ford and O'Connell. A general condition is found for solutions of this equation to deviate from those of Landau-Lifshitz. By exploring radiation reaction effects on a particle colliding with an ultra-intense laser pulse we show that the regime where there is a significant deviation of these two approaches can never be reached with existing or proposed laser facilities. The methods used to explore single particle interaction with an intense laser pulse are extended to describe the interaction of a particle bunch with various realistic laser pulses. We find that the interaction leads to a decrease in average momentum and relative momentum spread. However, the decrease appears to be independent of the length of the pulse and depends only on the energy in the pulse regardless of how it is distributed. Radiation reaction effects occuring during the scattering of an electron by a heavy, highly-charged nucleus are studied. Radiation reaction is seen to affect the particle's motion. We find noticeable differences between the predictions of the Ford-O'Connell and Landau-Lifshitz equations, albeit in regimes where quantum effects would be important.
Resource Type
Date Created
  • 2014
Former identifier
  • 1039463