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Charged relativistic fluids and non-linear electrodynamics

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Article number20009
Journal publication date2010
JournalEurophysics Letters
Journal number2
Volume89
Number of pages4
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The electromagnetic fields in Maxwell's theory satisfy linear equations in the classical vacuum. This is modified in classical non-linear electrodynamic theories. To date there has been little experimental evidence that any of these modified theories are tenable. However with the advent of high-intensity lasers and powerful laboratory magnetic fields this situation may be changing. We argue that an approach involving the self-consistent relativistic motion of a smooth fluid-like distribution of matter (composed of a large number of charged or neutral particles) in an electromagnetic field offers a viable theoretical framework in which to explore the experimental consequences of non-linear electrodynamics. We construct such a model based on the theory of Born and Infeld and suggest that a simple laboratory experiment involving the propagation of light in a static magnetic field could be used to place bounds on the fundamental coupling in that theory. Such a framework has many applications including a new description of the motion of particles in modern accelerators and plasmas as well as phenomena in astrophysical contexts such as in the environment of magnetars, quasars and gamma-ray bursts.