Scalar and vector potentials in electromagnetism. The scalar potential is potential energy per unit charge. For potential energy, use the potential-energy tag.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

2
votes
2answers
126 views

Modeling a potential well

I attempted to simulate the interaction of a moving particle and a potential well in Mathematica. The particle should experience a force of -$1/r^2$, if the equation for the potential well is -$1/r$. ...
3
votes
0answers
88 views

Is the “Force” of Gravity Simply Hamilton's Principle on a Curved Spacetime?

It's my understanding that General Relativity abstracts away the concept of gravity as a force, and instead describes it as a feature of spacetime by which massive objects cause curvature. Then it ...
4
votes
1answer
186 views

What is physical meaning of $|\phi|^2$ in quantum field theory and pedagogical spontaneous symmetry breaking?

If wavefunction is $\phi$, we know that $|\phi (x)|^2$ represents probability of finding a particle at $x$. Now let us talk about some pedagogical example in spontaneous symmetry breaking in QFT, ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

When to use method of images in Electrostatics?

I am a bit confused about when to use the method of images in E&M? For example, in Griffith's Electrodynamics Example 3.2, the problem reads: A point charge $q$ is situated a distance $a$ from ...
1
vote
3answers
105 views

Basics of Current Electricity

I have certain questions which confuse me a great deal. I want to have a very basic and clear idea about some concepts. Here it goes: 1) I am really confused on how a battery actually works. The very ...
1
vote
2answers
84 views

If batteries are a source of energy, would not lower-valued resistors cause a violation of the conservation of energy?

Here's the conundrum I have been facing. Yesterday I asked the question: how can batteries constantly motivate electrons to complete a circuit? (What maintains constant voltage in a battery?) After ...
3
votes
2answers
309 views

How to solve the Laplace Equation in the hollow square region?

Suppose the values of $a$, $b$, $V_1$ and $V_2$ is given. I want to find the solution of the Laplace equation, $$\frac{\partial^2 \phi}{\partial x^2}+\frac{\partial^2 \phi}{\partial y^2}=0$$ in the ...
0
votes
1answer
138 views

Argument for symmetry of potential of a spherical capacitor filled with dielectric

A spherical capacitor with inner radius $r_1$ and outer radius $r_2$ is filled with dielectric material with permittivity $\epsilon=\epsilon_0+\epsilon_1\cos^2\theta $. $\theta$ is the polar angle. ...
4
votes
1answer
332 views

What maintains constant voltage in a battery?

I know there's lots of questions that address similar situations, (Batteries connected in Parallel, Batteries and fields?, Naive Question About Batteries, and the oft-viewed I don't understand ...
3
votes
1answer
86 views

Justification of discrete spectrum for V(x) unbounded at $\pm \infty$ in Pauling and Wilson

In Pauling and Wilson, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, they offer the following intuitive reason for the discrete spectrum of a potential which is unbounded at $\pm \infty$: This is ...
2
votes
0answers
42 views

Units and missing constants in quintessence expressions?

In cosmology, quintessence is an alternative to the cosmological constant. In this approach (described here), we consider a scalar field $\phi$ and its self-interacting potential $V\left(\phi\right)$ ...
1
vote
0answers
41 views

Surface potential resulting from the charge transfer between insulator and conductor

Common non-contact electrostatic voltmeters are used to measure the surface potential. Imagine we place a charged insulator on top of the conducting plate (insulated from the surrounding) and measure ...
0
votes
0answers
181 views

Finite Square Well Inside an Infinite Square Well

Ok here's a potential I invented and am trying to solve: $$ V(x) = \begin{cases} -V_0&0<x<b \\ 0&b<x<a \\ \infty&x>a \\ \end{cases}$$ and $V(-x) = V(x)$ (Even ...
4
votes
1answer
103 views

Is there some quantum potential producing exponential eigenvalues?

Usual central potentials produce quantum spectra with energy levels going as $n$, $n^2$, $n^3$ and so on, being $n$ the quantum number of the orbit. In the other extreme we have "dirac-delta" ...
0
votes
1answer
125 views

Finite potential well, parity of solutions

I'm working through some problems for a QM exam and I've realised I don't really understand the concept of parity of solutions. I'm looking at a simple finite potential well problem: $$V(x)=0, \quad ...
2
votes
0answers
101 views

WKB approximation in two dimensions

Does anybody know how to implement the WKB approximation for the two-dimensional Schrodinger equation with a harmonic oscillator potential: $\frac{1}{2}\Biggl[-\biggl(\frac{\partial^2}{\partial ...
1
vote
1answer
502 views

Initial condition for Fourier transformed Schrödinger equation

I asked in this thread Time-dependet Schrödinger equation how to solve the Time-dependent Schrödinger equation. One of JamalS' recommendations was the Fourier transform, which is why I want to quote ...
3
votes
3answers
262 views

Higher order derivatives - Equation of motion

One possible starting point to create a physical theory is the Lagrangian $L$. There we assume that the variation of the action $\delta S = \delta \int_{-\infty}^\infty dt \ L = 0$. In classical ...
3
votes
2answers
665 views

What is an “Interaction Hamiltonian”

I'm an undergraduate reading up on some quantum physics so that I can help out more in the lab that I'm working in this summer. In the book I'm reading (Shankar's "Principles of Quantum Mechanics") I ...
0
votes
0answers
33 views

Particle in a box under harmonic driving

Is the particle in a box under harmonic driving electric field solvable analytically? Here is the Schrodinger equation: $$ i\frac{\partial \psi(x,t)}{\partial t}=\left[-\frac{1}{2} ...
5
votes
2answers
137 views

Potential generated by a hollow sphere with a hole

The sphere has radius $R$ and is missing its "pole" - meaning that in the area $\theta\leq\alpha$ there is nothing. The object has a homogenous charge density $\sigma=\frac{Q}{\pi R^2}$ I'm trying to ...
1
vote
1answer
340 views

Storing kinetic energy instead of potential energy - practically possible?

One of the big problems today considering energy is its storage (e.g. batteries are not that efficient, very expensive and polluting). Energy is classically mostly stored as some kind of potential (in ...
-1
votes
2answers
139 views

Potential at Center of Earth

If using the surface of the earth as a reference point how much work is needed for gravity to pull me to the center. Is it negative infinity or am I wrong? Also is a single value of potential ...
4
votes
2answers
188 views

Meaning of “Grounded”

In my opinion, "grounded" means having the same potential as the potential at infinity, which is usually set to zero. Now if we consider a conductor inside a uniform electric field, what is the ...
0
votes
2answers
311 views

Grounded conductor inside a uniform electric field [duplicate]

I am working on a textbook problem of a grounded conductor inside a uniform electric field. The textbook states that "grounded" means potential = 0. In my opinion, "grounded" should mean "same ...
1
vote
1answer
192 views

Derive force from the pair-wise potential equation [closed]

How can we calculate the force exerted on particle $i$ by particle $j$ given a general potential function $V(d)$? Let's discuss this genenal question with a concrete example below. To simulate the ...
1
vote
1answer
120 views

Quick question on sketching wavefunction in well

Usually for an infinite well, the sketch for n=3 level is this: Now I think if one side of the potential barrier is higher, the particle will be more likely to spend time on the left side than ...
1
vote
1answer
94 views

Integration over $S^2$ in electrostatics

I'm studying for a test in electrostatics and I'm always failing on putting up the correct integrals. In one problem I have the surface of a sphere with radius $a$ and an opening angle of $2\theta$. ...
0
votes
2answers
206 views

How to measure vector potential such as that of magnetic field?

If we want to measure gravitational potential energy of a body-earth system, we can simply do it by measuring the body's height from ground. How could we can measure vector potential such as that of ...
0
votes
1answer
199 views

How the electric potential of a charged body depends on the surface area of the body?

I have studied in the book that electric potential of a body depend on the surface area of the body, that is as the surface area increases potential decreases keeping the charge as constant and vice ...
0
votes
1answer
202 views

Dielectric sphere placed in another dielectric medium with uniform external field: is there a surface charge density?

Consider a dielectric sphere placed within a dielctric medium. There is a uniform electric field $E_0$ present throughout in the medium. Would there be surface charge on the sphere?
1
vote
1answer
289 views

Find the points where potential is null

Let's say we have two charges called $q_1$ and $q_2$, respectively $20 \, C$ and $-40\,C$, at a distance $d=1\,m$ We want to find all the points where electric potential is null. I solved the ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Particle in a 1D Box with Symmetric potential: How find solutions?

I am working on a problem in which I shall find the normalised solution to the 1D particle in a box. Solving for the particle in an asymmetric potential is quite straight forward, but I run into ...
4
votes
1answer
536 views

Child-Langmuir Space Charge Law for Non-Zero Cathode Potential (Non-Zero Initial Electron Velocity)

I'm trying to reconcile some conflicting results that I've found in publications that address the idea of the current in a vacuum diode in the case where the cathode has a non-zero potential, in other ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Why do electrons move towards regions of lower potential?

Can someone explain why electrons move from high to low potential regions in quantum mechanics? By the way, what is the very definition of this potential? Moreover, how does this generalize to other ...
0
votes
0answers
62 views

Electric Potential Change

Imagine we have a conductor in the shape of a sphere with charge $Q$ on it. The conductor is not grounded. There is an associated potential $V=\frac{Q}{4\pi\epsilon_0 R}$ at and in the sphere, where ...
23
votes
4answers
8k views

Birds sitting on electric wires: potential difference between the legs

We have seen birds sitting on uninsulated electric wires of high voltage transmission lines overhead without getting harmed, because sitting on only one wire doesn't complete any circuit. But what ...
0
votes
1answer
105 views

What is the correct way to take out equivalent capacitance here?

So here I have a capacitor with two plates , one positively charged and one negatively, as shown in the figure. Now the material between them is $k_1$ for thickness d/2 and $k_2$ for the other d/2. ...
0
votes
1answer
87 views

Calculating electric potential from a changing electric field

Assuming that I calculated the electric field in a single point between a uniform charged positive sphere and an infinite long wire charged positive uniformly. Now, I want to calculate the velocity of ...
2
votes
1answer
156 views

Sign convention for EMF

When we define the field generate by EMF, why there is not negative sign in $\mathcal{E} = \oint \vec{E} \cdot d\vec{l}$? Usually we talk about potential, there should be a negative sign, right?
2
votes
1answer
155 views

A zero gravitational potential and non zero gravitational field

Give an example of a situation in which there is a non-zero gravitational field and a zero gravitational potential at the same point? $$dV=-\vec E\cdot d\vec r.$$ The above equation implies that ...
1
vote
2answers
275 views

Interaction energy between dipole and potential

It is known that interaction energy = $-\vec{p}.\vec{E}$ where $\vec{p}$ is dipole moment and $\vec{E}$ is the electric field. I have to calculate the interaction energy of a system whose dipole ...
2
votes
2answers
74 views

How will a particle with energy less than $V_{\rm min}$ behave?

Consider e.g. the finite square well: $V = -V_o$ between $x=-a$ and $x=a$, $V=0$ elsewhere Now for scattering states, $E$ must be $> 0$. For normalizable bound states, $E$ must be $< 0$ and ...
0
votes
1answer
142 views

Calculating the Reflection Coefficient of a Potential Step Explicitly

So I'm using the following definition for the Reflection coefficient : $$\frac{\vec{j}_{reflected}}{\vec{j}_{incident}}$$ Hence, since : $$\psi_{reflected}=Be^{-ikx}$$ and ...
1
vote
1answer
298 views

Clarification of multipole expansion for a point charge

In Griffith's electrodynamic: 3.4.2 He pointed out that the monopole term is the exact potential for a single point charge. However I was under the impression that different configuration of a ...
7
votes
6answers
361 views

Origins of many-particle interactions

The internal potential energy of an $N$ particle system is a general function of the coordinates of the particles: $U(r_1,...,r_N)$. In some approximations and expansions - e.g. virial expansion - it ...
2
votes
1answer
235 views

An Electric Potential Glued to a Cube-Shaped Insulator to Replicate a Point Charge: Charge Distribution

I have been going back over this problem with a friend for the better part of a day: A potential is glued to a cube-shaped insulator so that outside of the insulator the field is the same as a point ...
1
vote
3answers
353 views

How can the potential on a cube's surface replicate the potential of a point particle?

If i have a cube (either hollow, or an insulating solid) and i want its surface have a potential such that it looks like a point particle outside of the box does that mean the exact potential on the ...
1
vote
1answer
67 views

Reflection of an evanescent matter wave within a finite barrier?

To my understanding if I have a finite barrier with potential $V(x)>E$, then to the left of the barrier, the wavefunction can be represented as two exponentials: $$\psi= e^{(ik_{left} x)} + ...
4
votes
2answers
171 views

Argument for symmetry of potential

Consider the following electrostatic charge configuration of a spherically symmetric, perfect conductor with total charge $Q = 2q$, where $q > 0$. A point charge $q$ is placed at the position ...