Self-force of a charge in a real current

Reuven Ianconescu, L. P. Horwitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The analysis of the EM radiation from a single charge shows that the radiated power depends on the retarded acceleration of the charge. Therefore for consistency, an accelerated charge, free from the influence of external forces, should gradually lose its acceleration, until its total energy is radiated. Calculations show that the self force of a charge, which compensates for its radiation, is proportional to the derivative of the acceleration. However, when using this self force in the equation of motion of the charge, one gets a diverging solution, for which the acceleration runs away to infinity. This means that there is an inconsistency in the solution of the single charge problem. However, in the construction of the conserved Maxwell charge density, there is implicitly an integral over the corresponding world line which corresponds to a collection of charged spacetime events. One may therefore consistently think of the "self force" as the force on a charge due to another charge at the retarded position. From this point of view, the energy is evidently conserved and the radiation process appears as an absorbing resistance to the feeding source. The purpose of this work is to learn about the behavior of single charges from the behavior of a real current, corresponding to the set of charges moving on a world line, and to study the analog of the self force of a charge associated with the radiation resistance of a continuum of charges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-559
Number of pages9
JournalFoundations of Physics Letters
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Charges
  • Radiation resistance
  • Self force


Dive into the research topics of 'Self-force of a charge in a real current'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this