• Light-matter interaction: conversion of optical energy and momentum to mechanical vibrations and phonons

      Mansuripur, Masud; Univ Arizona, Coll Opt Sci (SPIE-INT SOC OPTICAL ENGINEERING, 2016-02-13)
      Reflection, refraction, and absorption of light by material media are, in general, accompanied by a transfer of optical energy and momentum to the media. Consequently, the eigen-modes of mechanical vibration (phonons) created in the process must distribute the acquired energy and momentum throughout the material medium. However, unlike photons, phonons do not carry momentum. What happens to the material medium in its interactions with light, therefore, requires careful consideration if the conservation laws are to be upheld. The present paper addresses some of the mechanisms by which the electromagnetic momentum of light is carried away by mechanical vibrations.