Geometric Algebra

Three more geometric algebra tutorials on youtube.

January 28, 2018 math and physics play No comments , , , , , , , ,

Here’s three more fairly short Geometric Algebra related tutorials that I’ve posted on youtube

Lorentz boosts in Geometric Algebra paravector notation.

January 14, 2018 math and physics play No comments , , , , , , , , , , , ,

[Click here for a PDF of this post with nicer formatting]

Motivation.

The notation I prefer for relativistic geometric algebra uses Hestenes’ space time algebra (STA) [2], where the basis is a four dimensional space \( \setlr{ \gamma_\mu } \), subject to Dirac matrix like relations \( \gamma_\mu \cdot \gamma_\nu = \eta_{\mu \nu} \).

In this formalism a four vector is just the sum of the products of coordinates and basis vectors, for example, using summation convention

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:boostToParavector:160}
x = x^\mu \gamma_\mu.
\end{equation}

The invariant for a four-vector in STA is just the square of that vector

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:boostToParavector:180}
\begin{aligned}
x^2
&= (x^\mu \gamma_\mu) \cdot (x^\nu \gamma_\nu) \\
&= \sum_\mu (x^\mu)^2 (\gamma_\mu)^2 \\
&= (x^0)^2 – \sum_{k = 1}^3 (x^k)^2 \\
&= (ct)^2 – \Bx^2.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Recall that a four-vector is time-like if this squared-length is positive, spacelike if negative, and light-like when zero.

Time-like projections are possible by dotting with the “lab-frame” time like basis vector \( \gamma_0 \)

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:boostToParavector:200}
ct = x \cdot \gamma_0 = x^0,
\end{equation}

and space-like projections are wedges with the same

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:boostToParavector:220}
\Bx = x \cdot \gamma_0 = x^k \sigma_k,
\end{equation}

where sums over Latin indexes \( k \in \setlr{1,2,3} \) are implied, and where the elements \( \sigma_k \)

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:boostToParavector:80}
\sigma_k = \gamma_k \gamma_0.
\end{equation}

which are bivectors in STA, can be viewed as an Euclidean vector basis \( \setlr{ \sigma_k } \).

Rotations in STA involve exponentials of space like bivectors \( \theta = a_{ij} \gamma_i \wedge \gamma_j \)

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:boostToParavector:240}
x’ = e^{ \theta/2 } x e^{ -\theta/2 }.
\end{equation}

Boosts, on the other hand, have exactly the same form, but the exponentials are with respect to space-time bivectors arguments, such as \( \theta = a \wedge \gamma_0 \), where \( a \) is any four-vector.

Observe that both boosts and rotations necessarily conserve the space-time length of a four vector (or any multivector with a scalar square).

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:boostToParavector:260}
\begin{aligned}
\lr{x’}^2
&=
\lr{ e^{ \theta/2 } x e^{ -\theta/2 } } \lr{ e^{ \theta/2 } x e^{ -\theta/2 } } \\
&=
e^{ \theta/2 } x \lr{ e^{ -\theta/2 } e^{ \theta/2 } } x e^{ -\theta/2 } \\
&=
e^{ \theta/2 } x^2 e^{ -\theta/2 } \\
&=
x^2 e^{ \theta/2 } e^{ -\theta/2 } \\
&=
x^2.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Paravectors.

Paravectors, as used by Baylis [1], represent four-vectors using a Euclidean multivector basis \( \setlr{ \Be_\mu } \), where \( \Be_0 = 1 \). The conversion between STA and paravector notation requires only multiplication with the timelike basis vector for the lab frame \( \gamma_0 \)

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:boostToParavector:40}
\begin{aligned}
X
&= x \gamma_0 \\
&= \lr{ x^0 \gamma_0 + x^k \gamma_k } \gamma_0 \\
&= x^0 + x^k \gamma_k \gamma_0 \\
&= x^0 + \Bx \\
&= c t + \Bx,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

We need a different structure for the invariant length in paravector form. That invariant length is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:boostToParavector:280}
\begin{aligned}
x^2
&=
\lr{ \lr{ ct + \Bx } \gamma_0 }
\lr{ \lr{ ct + \Bx } \gamma_0 } \\
&=
\lr{ \lr{ ct + \Bx } \gamma_0 }
\lr{ \gamma_0 \lr{ ct – \Bx } } \\
&=
\lr{ ct + \Bx }
\lr{ ct – \Bx }.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Baylis introduces an involution operator \( \overline{{M}} \) which toggles the sign of any vector or bivector grades of a multivector. For example, if \( M = a + \Ba + I \Bb + I c \), where \( a,c \in \mathbb{R} \) and \( \Ba, \Bb \in \mathbb{R}^3 \) is a multivector with all grades \( 0,1,2,3 \), then the involution of \( M \) is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:boostToParavector:300}
\overline{{M}} = a – \Ba – I \Bb + I c.
\end{equation}

Utilizing this operator, the invariant length for a paravector \( X \) is \( X \overline{{X}} \).

Let’s consider how boosts and rotations can be expressed in the paravector form. The half angle operator for a boost along the spacelike \( \Bv = v \vcap \) direction has the form

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:boostToParavector:120}
L = e^{ -\vcap \phi/2 },
\end{equation}

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:boostToParavector:140}
\begin{aligned}
X’
&=
c t’ + \Bx’ \\
&=
x’ \gamma_0 \\
&=
L x L^\dagger \\
&=
e^{ -\vcap \phi/2 } x^\mu \gamma_\mu
e^{ \vcap \phi/2 } \gamma_0 \\
&=
e^{ -\vcap \phi/2 } x^\mu \gamma_\mu \gamma_0
e^{ -\vcap \phi/2 } \\
&=
e^{ -\vcap \phi/2 } \lr{ x^0 + \Bx } e^{ -\vcap \phi/2 } \\
&=
L X L.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Because the involution operator toggles the sign of vector grades, it is easy to see that the required invariance is maintained

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:boostToParavector:320}
\begin{aligned}
X’ \overline{{X’}}
&=
L X L
\overline{{ L X L }} \\
&=
L X L
\overline{{ L }} \overline{{ X }} \overline{{ L }} \\
&=
L X \overline{{ X }} \overline{{ L }} \\
&=
X \overline{{ X }} L \overline{{ L }} \\
&=
X \overline{{ X }}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Let’s explicitly expand the transformation of \ref{eqn:boostToParavector:140}, so we can relate the rapidity angle \( \phi \) to the magnitude of the velocity. This is most easily done by splitting the spacelike component \( \Bx \) of the four vector into its projective and rejective components

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:boostToParavector:340}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx
&= \vcap \vcap \Bx \\
&= \vcap \lr{ \vcap \cdot \Bx + \vcap \wedge \Bx } \\
&= \vcap \lr{ \vcap \cdot \Bx } + \vcap \lr{ \vcap \wedge \Bx } \\
&= \Bx_\parallel + \Bx_\perp.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

The exponential

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:boostToParavector:360}
e^{-\vcap \phi/2}
=
\cosh\lr{ \phi/2 }
– \vcap \sinh\lr{ \phi/2 },
\end{equation}

commutes with any scalar grades and with \( \Bx_\parallel \), but anticommutes with \( \Bx_\perp \), so

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:boostToParavector:380}
\begin{aligned}
X’
&=
\lr{ c t + \Bx_\parallel } e^{ -\vcap \phi/2 } e^{ -\vcap \phi/2 }
+
\Bx_\perp e^{ \vcap \phi/2 } e^{ -\vcap \phi/2 } \\
&=
\lr{ c t + \Bx_\parallel } e^{ -\vcap \phi }
+
\Bx_\perp \\
&=
\lr{ c t + \vcap \lr{ \vcap \cdot \Bx } } \lr{ \cosh \phi – \vcap \sinh \phi }
+
\Bx_\perp \\
&=
\Bx_\perp
+
\lr{ c t \cosh\phi – \lr{ \vcap \cdot \Bx} \sinh \phi }
+
\vcap \lr{ \lr{ \vcap \cdot \Bx } \cosh\phi – c t \sinh \phi } \\
&=
\Bx_\perp
+
\cosh\phi \lr{ c t – \lr{ \vcap \cdot \Bx} \tanh \phi }
+
\vcap \cosh\phi \lr{ \vcap \cdot \Bx – c t \tanh \phi }.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Employing the argument from [3],
we want \( \phi \) defined so that this has structure of a Galilean transformation in the limit where \( \phi \rightarrow 0 \). This means we equate

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:boostToParavector:400}
\tanh \phi = \frac{v}{c},
\end{equation}

so that for small \(\phi\)

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:boostToParavector:420}
\Bx’ = \Bx – \Bv t.
\end{equation}

We can solving for \( \sinh^2 \phi \) and \( \cosh^2 \phi \) in terms of \( v/c \) using

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:boostToParavector:440}
\tanh^2 \phi
= \frac{v^2}{c^2}
=
\frac{ \sinh^2 \phi }{1 + \sinh^2 \phi}
=
\frac{ \cosh^2 \phi – 1 }{\cosh^2 \phi}.
\end{equation}

which after picking the positive root required for Galilean equivalence gives
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:boostToParavector:460}
\begin{aligned}
\cosh \phi &= \frac{1}{\sqrt{1 – (\Bv/c)^2}} \equiv \gamma \\
\sinh \phi &= \frac{v/c}{\sqrt{1 – (\Bv/c)^2}} = \gamma v/c.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

The Lorentz boost, written out in full is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:boostToParavector:480}
ct’ + \Bx’
=
\Bx_\perp
+
\gamma \lr{ c t – \frac{\Bv}{c} \cdot \Bx }
+
\gamma \lr{ \vcap \lr{ \vcap \cdot \Bx } – \Bv t }
.
\end{equation}

Authors like Chappelle, et al., that also use paravectors [4], specify the form of the Lorentz transformation for the electromagnetic field, but for that transformation reversion is used instead of involution.
I plan to explore that in a later post, starting from the STA formalism that I already understand, and see if I can make sense
of the underlying rationale.

References

[1] William Baylis. Electrodynamics: a modern geometric approach, volume 17. Springer Science \& Business Media, 2004.

[2] C. Doran and A.N. Lasenby. Geometric algebra for physicists. Cambridge University Press New York, Cambridge, UK, 1st edition, 2003.

[3] L. Landau and E. Lifshitz. The Classical theory of fields. Addison-Wesley, 1951.

[4] James M Chappell, Samuel P Drake, Cameron L Seidel, Lachlan J Gunn, and Derek Abbott. Geometric algebra for electrical and electronic engineers. Proceedings of the IEEE, 102 0(9), 2014.

second experiment in screen recording

July 17, 2017 math and physics play No comments , , , , ,

Here’s a second attempt at recording a blackboard style screen recording:

 

To handle the screen transitions, equivalent to clearing my small blackboard, I switched to using a black background and just moved the text as I filled things up.  This worked much better.  I still drew with mischief, and recorded with OBS, but then did a small post production edit in iMovie to remove a little bit of dead air and to edit out one particularly bad flub.

This talk covers the product of two vectors, defines the dot and wedge products, and shows how the 3D wedge product is related to the cross product.  I recorded some additional discussion of duality that I left out of this video, which was long enough without it.

experiment in screen recording: An introduction to Geometric Algebra.

July 14, 2017 math and physics play No comments , , ,

I’ve been curious for a while what it would take to create lesson style screen recordings, and finally got around to trying one myself:

 

This is an introduction to Geometric (Clifford) algebra.  I briefly outline a geometrical interpretation of various products of unit vectors, rules for reducing products of unit vectors, and the axioms that justify those rules.

I made this recording using the OBS screen recorder, using a Mac, drawing with a Wacom tablet and using Mischief as my drawing application.  I have to find a way to do the screen clearing transitions more smoothly, as there are sizable dead time delays while I do the ‘File -> Import -> Recent -> …  ; Don’t save’ sequence in mischief to reload.  I also um and ah more than I like, something I think I could avoid if presenting this to a real live person.

A comparison of Geometric Algebra electrodynamic potential methods

January 7, 2017 math and physics play No comments , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

[Click here for a PDF of this post with nicer formatting]

Motivation

Geometric algebra (GA) allows for a compact description of Maxwell’s equations in either an explicit 3D representation or a STA (SpaceTime Algebra [2]) representation. The 3D GA and STA representations Maxwell’s equation both the form

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1280}
L \boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = J,
\end{equation}

where \( J \) represents the sources, \( L \) is a multivector gradient operator that includes partial derivative operator components for each of the space and time coordinates, and

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1020}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = \boldsymbol{\mathcal{E}} + \eta I \boldsymbol{\mathcal{H}},
\end{equation}

is an electromagnetic field multivector, \( I = \Be_1 \Be_2 \Be_3 \) is the \R{3} pseudoscalar, and \( \eta = \sqrt{\mu/\epsilon} \) is the impedance of the media.

When Maxwell’s equations are extended to include magnetic sources in addition to conventional electric sources (as used in antenna-theory [1] and microwave engineering [3]), they take the form

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:chapter3Notes:20}
\spacegrad \cross \boldsymbol{\mathcal{E}} = – \boldsymbol{\mathcal{M}} – \PD{t}{\boldsymbol{\mathcal{B}}}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:chapter3Notes:40}
\spacegrad \cross \boldsymbol{\mathcal{H}} = \boldsymbol{\mathcal{J}} + \PD{t}{\boldsymbol{\mathcal{D}}}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:chapter3Notes:60}
\spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{D}} = q_{\textrm{e}}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:chapter3Notes:80}
\spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{B}} = q_{\textrm{m}}.
\end{equation}

The corresponding GA Maxwell equations in their respective 3D and STA forms are

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:300}
\lr{ \spacegrad + \inv{v} \PD{t}{} } \boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}}
=
\eta
\lr{ v q_{\textrm{e}} – \boldsymbol{\mathcal{J}} }
+ I \lr{ v q_{\textrm{m}} – \boldsymbol{\mathcal{M}} }
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:320}
\grad \boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = \eta J – I M,
\end{equation}

where the wave group velocity in the medium is \( v = 1/\sqrt{\epsilon\mu} \), and the medium is isotropic with
\( \boldsymbol{\mathcal{B}} = \mu \boldsymbol{\mathcal{H}} \), and \( \boldsymbol{\mathcal{D}} = \epsilon \boldsymbol{\mathcal{E}} \). In the STA representation, \( \grad, J, M \) are all four-vectors, the specific meanings of which will be spelled out below.

How to determine the potential equations and the field representation using the conventional distinct Maxwell’s \ref{eqn:chapter3Notes:20}, … is well known. The basic procedure is to consider the electric and magnetic sources in turn, and observe that in each case one of the electric or magnetic fields must have a curl representation. The STA approach is similar, except that it can be observed that the field must have a four-curl representation for each type of source. In the explicit 3D GA formalism
\ref{eqn:potentialMethods:300} how to formulate a natural potential representation is not as obvious. There is no longer an reason to set any component of the field equal to a curl, and the representation of the four curl from the STA approach is awkward. Additionally, it is not obvious what form gauge invariance takes in the 3D GA representation.

Ideas explored in these notes

  • GA representation of Maxwell’s equations including magnetic sources.
  • STA GA formalism for Maxwell’s equations including magnetic sources.
  • Explicit form of the GA potential representation including both electric and magnetic sources.
  • Demonstration of exactly how the 3D and STA potentials are related.
  • Explore the structure of gauge transformations when magnetic sources are included.
  • Explore the structure of gauge transformations in the 3D GA formalism.
  • Specify the form of the Lorentz gauge in the 3D GA formalism.

Traditional vector algebra

No magnetic sources

When magnetic sources are omitted, it follows from \ref{eqn:chapter3Notes:80} that there is some \( \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} \) for which

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:20}
\boxed{
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{B}} = \spacegrad \cross \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}},
}
\end{equation}

Substitution into Faraday’s law \ref{eqn:chapter3Notes:20} gives

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:40}
\spacegrad \cross \boldsymbol{\mathcal{E}} = – \PD{t}{}\lr{ \spacegrad \cross \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} },
\end{equation}

or
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:60}
\spacegrad \cross \lr{ \boldsymbol{\mathcal{E}} + \PD{t}{ \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} } } = 0.
\end{equation}

A gradient representation of this curled quantity, say \( -\spacegrad \phi \), will provide the required zero

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:80}
\boxed{
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{E}} = -\spacegrad \phi -\PD{t}{ \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} }.
}
\end{equation}

The final two Maxwell equations yield

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:100}
\begin{aligned}
-\spacegrad^2 \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} + \spacegrad \lr{ \spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} } &= \mu \lr{ \boldsymbol{\mathcal{J}} + \epsilon \PD{t}{} \lr{ -\spacegrad \phi -\PD{t}{ \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} } } } \\
\spacegrad \cdot \lr{ -\spacegrad \phi -\PD{t}{ \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} } } &= q_e/\epsilon,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

or
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:120}
\boxed{
\begin{aligned}
\spacegrad^2 \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} – \inv{v^2} \PDSq{t}{ \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} }
– \spacegrad \lr{
\inv{v^2} \PD{t}{\phi}
+\spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}}
}
&= -\mu \boldsymbol{\mathcal{J}} \\
\spacegrad^2 \phi + \PD{t}{} \lr{ \spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} } &= -q_e/\epsilon.
\end{aligned}
}
\end{equation}

Note that the Lorentz condition \( \PDi{t}{(\phi/v^2)} + \spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} = 0 \) can be imposed to decouple these, leaving non-homogeneous wave equations for the vector and scalar potentials respectively.

No electric sources

Without electric sources, a curl representation of the electric field can be assumed, satisfying Gauss’s law

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:140}
\boxed{
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{D}} = – \spacegrad \cross \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}.
}
\end{equation}

Substitution into the Maxwell-Faraday law gives
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:160}
\spacegrad \cross \lr{ \boldsymbol{\mathcal{H}} + \PD{t}{\boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}} } = 0.
\end{equation}

This is satisfied with any gradient, say, \( -\spacegrad \phi_m \), providing a potential representation for the magnetic field

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:180}
\boxed{
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{H}} = -\spacegrad \phi_m – \PD{t}{\boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}}.
}
\end{equation}

The remaining Maxwell equations provide the required constraints on the potentials

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:220}
-\spacegrad^2 \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} + \spacegrad \lr{ \spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} } = -\epsilon
\lr{
-\boldsymbol{\mathcal{M}} – \mu \PD{t}{}
\lr{
-\spacegrad \phi_m – \PD{t}{\boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}}
}
}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:240}
\spacegrad \cdot
\lr{
-\spacegrad \phi_m – \PD{t}{\boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}}
}
= \inv{\mu} q_m,
\end{equation}

or
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:260}
\boxed{
\begin{aligned}
\spacegrad^2 \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} – \inv{v^2} \PDSq{t}{\boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}} – \spacegrad \lr{ \inv{v^2} \PD{t}{\phi_m} + \spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} } &= -\epsilon \boldsymbol{\mathcal{M}} \\
\spacegrad^2 \phi_m + \PD{t}{}\lr{ \spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} } &= -\inv{\mu} q_m.
\end{aligned}
}
\end{equation}

The general solution to Maxwell’s equations is therefore
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:280}
\begin{aligned}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{E}} &=
-\spacegrad \phi -\PD{t}{ \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} }
– \inv{\epsilon} \spacegrad \cross \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} \\
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{H}} &=
\inv{\mu} \spacegrad \cross \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}}
-\spacegrad \phi_m – \PD{t}{\boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}},
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

subject to the constraints \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:120} and \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:260}.

Potential operator structure

Knowing that there is a simple underlying structure to the potential representation of the electromagnetic field in the STA formalism inspires the question of whether that structure can be found directly using the scalar and vector potentials determined above.

Specifically, what is the multivector representation \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:1020} of the electromagnetic field in terms of all the individual potential variables, and can an underlying structure for that field representation be found? The composite field is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:280b}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}}
=
-\spacegrad \phi -\PD{t}{ \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} }
– \inv{\epsilon} \spacegrad \cross \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} \\
+ I \eta
\lr{
\inv{\mu} \spacegrad \cross \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}}
-\spacegrad \phi_m – \PD{t}{\boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}}
}.
\end{equation}

Can this be factored into into multivector operator and multivector potentials? Expanding the cross products provides some direction

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1040}
\begin{aligned}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}}
&=
– \PD{t}{ \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} }
– \eta \PD{t}{I \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}}
– \spacegrad \lr{ \phi – \eta I \phi_m } \\
&\quad + \frac{\eta}{2 \mu} \lr{ \rspacegrad \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} – \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} \lspacegrad }
+ \frac{1}{2 \epsilon} \lr{ \rspacegrad I \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} – I \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} \lspacegrad }.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Observe that the
gradient and the time partials can be grouped together

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1060}
\begin{aligned}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}}
&=
– \PD{t}{ } \lr{\boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} + \eta I \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}}
– \spacegrad \lr{ \phi + \eta I \phi_m }
+ \frac{v}{2} \lr{ \rspacegrad (\boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} + I \eta \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}) – (\boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} + I \eta \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}) \lspacegrad } \\
&=
\inv{2} \lr{
\lr{ \rspacegrad – \inv{v} {\stackrel{ \rightarrow }{\partial_t}} } \lr{ v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} + \eta v I \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} }

\lr{ v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} + \eta v I \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}} \lr{ \lspacegrad + \inv{v} {\stackrel{ \leftarrow }{\partial_t}} }
} \\
&+\quad \inv{2} \lr{
\lr{ \rspacegrad – \inv{v} {\stackrel{ \rightarrow }{\partial_t}} } \lr{ -\phi – \eta I \phi_m }
– \lr{ \phi + \eta I \phi_m } \lr{ \lspacegrad + \inv{v} {\stackrel{ \leftarrow }{\partial_t}} }
}
,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

or

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1080}
\boxed{
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}}
=
\inv{2} \Biglr{
\lr{ \rspacegrad – \inv{v} {\stackrel{ \rightarrow }{\partial_t}} }
\lr{
– \phi
+ v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}}
+ \eta I v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}
– \eta I \phi_m
}

\lr{
\phi
+ v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}}
+ \eta I v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}
+ \eta I \phi_m
}
\lr{ \lspacegrad + \inv{v} {\stackrel{ \leftarrow }{\partial_t}} }
}
.
}
\end{equation}

There’s a conjugate structure to the potential on each side of the curl operation where we see a sign change for the scalar and pseudoscalar elements only. The reason for this becomes more clear in the STA formalism.

Potentials in the STA formalism.

Maxwell’s equation in its explicit 3D form \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:300} can be
converted to STA form, by introducing a four-vector basis \( \setlr{ \gamma_\mu } \), where the spatial basis
\( \setlr{ \Be_k = \gamma_k \gamma_0 } \)
is expressed in terms of the Dirac basis \( \setlr{ \gamma_\mu } \).
By multiplying from the left with \( \gamma_0 \) a STA form of Maxwell’s equation
\ref{eqn:potentialMethods:320}
is obtained,
where
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:340}
\begin{aligned}
J &= \gamma^\mu J_\mu = ( v q_e, \boldsymbol{\mathcal{J}} ) \\
M &= \gamma^\mu M_\mu = ( v q_m, \boldsymbol{\mathcal{M}} ) \\
\grad &= \gamma^\mu \partial_\mu = ( (1/v) \partial_t, \spacegrad ) \\
I &= \gamma_0 \gamma_1 \gamma_2 \gamma_3,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Here the metric choice is \( \gamma_0^2 = 1 = -\gamma_k^2 \). Note that in this representation the electromagnetic field \( \boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = \boldsymbol{\mathcal{E}} + \eta I \boldsymbol{\mathcal{H}} \) is a bivector, not a multivector as it is explicit (frame dependent) 3D representation of \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:300}.

A potential representation can be obtained as before by considering electric and magnetic sources in sequence and using superposition to assemble a complete potential.

No magnetic sources

Without magnetic sources, Maxwell’s equation splits into vector and trivector terms of the form

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:380}
\grad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = \eta J
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:400}
\grad \wedge \boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = 0.
\end{equation}

A four-vector curl representation of the field will satisfy \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:400} allowing an immediate potential solution

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:560}
\boxed{
\begin{aligned}
&\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = \grad \wedge {A^{\mathrm{e}}} \\
&\grad^2 {A^{\mathrm{e}}} – \grad \lr{ \grad \cdot {A^{\mathrm{e}}} } = \eta J.
\end{aligned}
}
\end{equation}

This can be put into correspondence with \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:120} by noting that

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:460}
\begin{aligned}
\grad^2 &= (\gamma^\mu \partial_\mu) \cdot (\gamma^\nu \partial_\nu) = \inv{v^2} \partial_{tt} – \spacegrad^2 \\
\gamma_0 {A^{\mathrm{e}}} &= \gamma_0 \gamma^\mu {A^{\mathrm{e}}}_\mu = {A^{\mathrm{e}}}_0 + \Be_k {A^{\mathrm{e}}}_k = {A^{\mathrm{e}}}_0 + \BA^{\mathrm{e}} \\
\gamma_0 \grad &= \gamma_0 \gamma^\mu \partial_\mu = \inv{v} \partial_t + \spacegrad \\
\grad \cdot {A^{\mathrm{e}}} &= \partial_\mu {A^{\mathrm{e}}}^\mu = \inv{v} \partial_t {A^{\mathrm{e}}}_0 – \spacegrad \cdot \BA^{\mathrm{e}},
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

so multiplying from the left with \( \gamma_0 \) gives

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:480}
\lr{ \inv{v^2} \partial_{tt} – \spacegrad^2 } \lr{ {A^{\mathrm{e}}}_0 + \BA^{\mathrm{e}} } – \lr{ \inv{v} \partial_t + \spacegrad }\lr{ \inv{v} \partial_t {A^{\mathrm{e}}}_0 – \spacegrad \cdot \BA^{\mathrm{e}} } = \eta( v q_e – \boldsymbol{\mathcal{J}} ),
\end{equation}

or

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:520}
\lr{ \inv{v^2} \partial_{tt} – \spacegrad^2 } \BA^{\mathrm{e}} – \spacegrad \lr{ \inv{v} \partial_t {A^{\mathrm{e}}}_0 – \spacegrad \cdot \BA^{\mathrm{e}} } = -\eta \boldsymbol{\mathcal{J}}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:540}
\spacegrad^2 {A^{\mathrm{e}}}_0 – \inv{v} \partial_t \lr{ \spacegrad \cdot \BA^{\mathrm{e}} } = -q_e/\epsilon.
\end{equation}

So \( {A^{\mathrm{e}}}_0 = \phi \) and \( -\ifrac{\BA^{\mathrm{e}}}{v} = \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} \), or

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:600}
\boxed{
{A^{\mathrm{e}}} = \gamma_0\lr{ \phi – v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} }.
}
\end{equation}

No electric sources

Without electric sources, Maxwell’s equation now splits into

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:640}
\grad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = 0
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:660}
\grad \wedge \boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = -I M.
\end{equation}

Here the dual of an STA curl yields a solution

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:680}
\boxed{
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = I ( \grad \wedge {A^{\mathrm{m}}} ).
}
\end{equation}

Substituting this gives

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:720}
\begin{aligned}
0
&=
\grad \cdot (I ( \grad \wedge {A^{\mathrm{m}}} ) ) \\
&=
\gpgradeone{ \grad I ( \grad \wedge {A^{\mathrm{m}}} ) } \\
&=
-I \grad \wedge ( \grad \wedge {A^{\mathrm{m}}} ).
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:740}
\begin{aligned}
-I M
&=
\grad \wedge (I ( \grad \wedge {A^{\mathrm{m}}} ) ) \\
&=
\gpgradethree{ \grad I ( \grad \wedge {A^{\mathrm{m}}} ) } \\
&=
-I \grad \cdot ( \grad \wedge {A^{\mathrm{m}}} ).
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

The \( \grad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} \) relation \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:720} is identically zero as desired, leaving

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:760}
\boxed{
\grad^2 {A^{\mathrm{m}}} – \grad \lr{ \grad \cdot {A^{\mathrm{m}}} }
=
M.
}
\end{equation}

So the general solution with both electric and magnetic sources is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:800}
\boxed{
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = \grad \wedge {A^{\mathrm{e}}} + I (\grad \wedge {A^{\mathrm{m}}}),
}
\end{equation}

subject to the constraints of \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:560} and \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:760}. As before the four-potential \( {A^{\mathrm{m}}} \) can be put into correspondence with the conventional scalar and vector potentials by left multiplying with \( \gamma_0 \), which gives

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:820}
\lr{ \inv{v^2} \partial_{tt} – \spacegrad^2 } \lr{ {A^{\mathrm{m}}}_0 + \BA^{\mathrm{m}} } – \lr{ \inv{v} \partial_t + \spacegrad }\lr{ \inv{v} \partial_t {A^{\mathrm{m}}}_0 – \spacegrad \cdot \BA^{\mathrm{m}} } = v q_m – \boldsymbol{\mathcal{M}},
\end{equation}

or
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:860}
\lr{ \inv{v^2} \partial_{tt} – \spacegrad^2 } \BA^{\mathrm{m}} – \spacegrad \lr{ \inv{v} \partial_t {A^{\mathrm{m}}}_0 – \spacegrad \cdot \BA^{\mathrm{m}} } = – \boldsymbol{\mathcal{M}}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:880}
\spacegrad^2 {A^{\mathrm{m}}}_0 – \inv{v} \partial_t \spacegrad \cdot \BA^{\mathrm{m}} = -v q_m.
\end{equation}

Comparing with \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:260} shows that \( {A^{\mathrm{m}}}_0/v = \mu \phi_m \) and \( -\ifrac{\BA^{\mathrm{m}}}{v^2} = \mu \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} \), or

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:900}
\boxed{
{A^{\mathrm{m}}} = \gamma_0 \eta \lr{ \phi_m – v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} }.
}
\end{equation}

Potential operator structure

Observe that there is an underlying uniform structure of the differential operator that acts on the potential to produce the electromagnetic field. Expressed as a linear operator of the
gradient and the potentials, that is

\( \boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = L(\lrgrad, {A^{\mathrm{e}}}, {A^{\mathrm{m}}}) \)

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:980}
\begin{aligned}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}}
&=
L(\grad, {A^{\mathrm{e}}}, {A^{\mathrm{m}}}) \\
&= \grad \wedge {A^{\mathrm{e}}} + I (\grad \wedge {A^{\mathrm{m}}}) \\
&=
\inv{2} \lr{ \rgrad {A^{\mathrm{e}}} – {A^{\mathrm{e}}} \lgrad }
+ \frac{I}{2} \lr{ \rgrad {A^{\mathrm{m}}} – {A^{\mathrm{m}}} \lgrad } \\
&=
\inv{2} \lr{ \rgrad {A^{\mathrm{e}}} – {A^{\mathrm{e}}} \lgrad }
+ \frac{1}{2} \lr{ -\rgrad I {A^{\mathrm{m}}} – I {A^{\mathrm{m}}} \lgrad } \\
&=
\inv{2} \lr{ \rgrad ({A^{\mathrm{e}}} -I {A^{\mathrm{m}}}) – ({A^{\mathrm{e}}} + I {A^{\mathrm{m}}}) \lgrad }
,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

or
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1000}
\boxed{
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}}
=
\inv{2} \lr{ \rgrad ({A^{\mathrm{e}}} -I {A^{\mathrm{m}}}) – ({A^{\mathrm{e}}} – I {A^{\mathrm{m}}})^\dagger \lgrad }
.
}
\end{equation}

Observe that \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:1000} can be
put into correspondence with \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:1080} using a factoring of unity \( 1 = \gamma_0 \gamma_0 \)

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1100}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}}
=
\inv{2} \lr{ (-\rgrad \gamma_0) (-\gamma_0 ({A^{\mathrm{e}}} -I {A^{\mathrm{m}}})) – (({A^{\mathrm{e}}} + I {A^{\mathrm{m}}}) \gamma_0)(\gamma_0 \lgrad) },
\end{equation}

where

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1140}
\begin{aligned}
-\grad \gamma_0
&=
-(\gamma^0 \partial_0 + \gamma^k \partial_k) \gamma_0 \\
&=
-\partial_0 – \gamma^k \gamma_0 \partial_k \\
&=
\spacegrad
-\inv{v} \partial_t
,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1160}
\begin{aligned}
\gamma_0 \grad
&=
\gamma_0 (\gamma^0 \partial_0 + \gamma^k \partial_k) \\
&=
\partial_0 – \gamma^k \gamma_0 \partial_k \\
&=
\spacegrad
+ \inv{v} \partial_t
,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

and
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1200}
\begin{aligned}
-\gamma_0 ( {A^{\mathrm{e}}} – I {A^{\mathrm{m}}} )
&=
-\gamma_0 \gamma_0 \lr{ \phi -v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} + \eta I \lr{ \phi_m – v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} } } \\
&=
-\lr{ \phi -v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} + \eta I \phi_m – \eta v I \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} } \\
&=
– \phi
+ v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}}
+ \eta v I \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}
– \eta I \phi_m
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1220}
\begin{aligned}
( {A^{\mathrm{e}}} + I {A^{\mathrm{m}}} )\gamma_0
&=
\lr{ \gamma_0 \lr{ \phi -v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} } + I \gamma_0 \eta \lr{ \phi_m – v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} } } \gamma_0 \\
&=
\phi + v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} + I \eta \phi_m + I \eta v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} \\
&=
\phi
+ v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}}
+ \eta v I \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}
+ \eta I \phi_m
,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

This recovers \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:1080} as desired.

Potentials in the 3D Euclidean formalism

In the conventional scalar plus vector differential representation of Maxwell’s equations \ref{eqn:chapter3Notes:20}…, given electric(magnetic) sources the structure of the electric(magnetic) potential follows from first setting the magnetic(electric) field equal to the curl of a vector potential. The procedure for the STA GA form of Maxwell’s equation was similar, where it was immediately evident that the field could be set to the four-curl of a four-vector potential (or the dual of such a curl for magnetic sources).

In the 3D GA representation, there is no immediate rationale for introducing a curl or the equivalent to a four-curl representation of the field. Reconciliation of this is possible by recognizing that the fact that the field (or a component of it) may be represented by a curl is not actually fundamental. Instead, observe that the two sided gradient action on a potential to generate the electromagnetic field in the STA representation of \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:1000} serves to select the grade two component product of the gradient and the multivector potential \( {A^{\mathrm{e}}} – I {A^{\mathrm{m}}} \), and that this can in fact be written as
a single sided gradient operation on a potential, provided the multivector product is filtered with a four-bivector grade selection operation

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1240}
\boxed{
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = \gpgradetwo{ \grad \lr{ {A^{\mathrm{e}}} – I {A^{\mathrm{m}}} } }.
}
\end{equation}

Similarly, it can be observed that the
specific function of the conjugate structure in the two sided potential representation of
\ref{eqn:potentialMethods:1080}
is to discard all the scalar and pseudoscalar grades in the multivector product. This means that a single sided potential can also be used, provided it is wrapped in a grade selection operation

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1260}
\boxed{
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} =
\gpgrade{ \lr{ \spacegrad – \inv{v} \PD{t}{} }
\lr{
– \phi
+ v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}}
+ \eta I v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}
– \eta I \phi_m
} }{1,2}.
}
\end{equation}

It is this grade selection operation that is really the fundamental defining action in the potential of the STA and conventional 3D representations of Maxwell’s equations. So, given Maxwell’s equation in the 3D GA representation, defining a potential representation for the field is really just a demand that the field have the structure

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1320}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = \gpgrade{ (\alpha \spacegrad + \beta \partial_t)( A_0 + A_1 + I( A_0′ + A_1′ ) }{1,2}.
\end{equation}

This is a mandate that the electromagnetic field is the grades 1 and 2 components of the vector product of space and time derivative operators on a multivector field \( A = \sum_{k=0}^3 A_k = A_0 + A_1 + I( A_0′ + A_1′ ) \) that can potentially have any grade components. There are more degrees of freedom in this specification than required, since the multivector can absorb one of the \( \alpha \) or \( \beta \) coefficients, so without loss of generality, one of these (say \( \alpha\)) can be set to 1.

Expanding \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:1320} gives

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1340}
\begin{aligned}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}}
&=
\spacegrad A_0
+ \beta \partial_t A_1
– \spacegrad \cross A_1′
+ I (\spacegrad \cross A_1
+ \beta \partial_t A_1′
+ \spacegrad A_0′) \\
&=
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{E}} + I \eta \boldsymbol{\mathcal{H}}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

This naturally has all the right mixes of curls, gradients and time derivatives, all following as direct consequences of applying a grade selection operation to the action of a “spacetime gradient” on a general multivector potential.

The conclusion is that the potential representation of the field is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1360}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} =
\gpgrade{ \lr{ \spacegrad – \inv{v} \PD{t}{} } A }{1,2},
\end{equation}

where \( A \) is a multivector potentially containing all grades, where grades 0,1 are required for electric sources, and grades 2,3 are required for magnetic sources. When it is desirable to refer back to the conventional scalar and vector potentials this multivector potential can be written as \( A = -\phi + v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} + \eta I \lr{ -\phi_m + v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} } \).

Gauge transformations

Recall that for electric sources the magnetic field is of the form

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1380}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{B}} = \spacegrad \cross \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}},
\end{equation}

so adding the gradient of any scalar field to the potential \( \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}’ = \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}} + \spacegrad \psi \)
does not change the magnetic field

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1400}
\begin{aligned}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{B}}’
&= \spacegrad \cross \lr{ \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}} + \spacegrad \psi } \\
&= \spacegrad \cross \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}} \\
&= \boldsymbol{\mathcal{B}}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

The electric field with this changed potential is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1420}
\begin{aligned}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{E}}’
&= -\spacegrad \phi – \partial_t \lr{ \BA + \spacegrad \psi} \\
&= -\spacegrad \lr{ \phi + \partial_t \psi } – \partial_t \BA,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

so if
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1440}
\phi = \phi’ – \partial_t \psi,
\end{equation}

the electric field will also be unaltered by this transformation.

In the STA representation, the field can similarly be altered by adding any (four)gradient to the potential. For example with only electric sources

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1460}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = \grad \wedge (A + \grad \psi) = \grad \wedge A
\end{equation}

and for electric or magnetic sources

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1480}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}} = \gpgradetwo{ \grad (A + \grad \psi) } = \gpgradetwo{ \grad A }.
\end{equation}

In the 3D GA representation, where the field is given by \ref{eqn:potentialMethods:1360}, there is no field that is being curled to add a gradient to. However, if the scalar and vector potentials transform as

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1500}
\begin{aligned}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}} &\rightarrow \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}} + \spacegrad \psi \\
\phi &\rightarrow \phi – \partial_t \psi,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

then the multivector potential transforms as
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1520}
-\phi + v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}
\rightarrow -\phi + v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}} + \partial_t \psi + v \spacegrad \psi,
\end{equation}

so the electromagnetic field is unchanged when the multivector potential is transformed as

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1540}
A \rightarrow A + \lr{ \spacegrad + \inv{v} \partial_t } \psi,
\end{equation}

where \( \psi \) is any field that has scalar or pseudoscalar grades. Viewed in terms of grade selection, this makes perfect sense, since the transformed field is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1560}
\begin{aligned}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}}
&\rightarrow
\gpgrade{ \lr{ \spacegrad – \inv{v} \PD{t}{} } \lr{ A + \lr{ \spacegrad + \inv{v} \partial_t } \psi } }{1,2} \\
&=
\gpgrade{ \lr{ \spacegrad – \inv{v} \PD{t}{} } A + \lr{ \spacegrad^2 – \inv{v^2} \partial_{tt} } \psi }{1,2} \\
&=
\gpgrade{ \lr{ \spacegrad – \inv{v} \PD{t}{} } A }{1,2}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

The \( \psi \) contribution to the grade selection operator is killed because it has scalar or pseudoscalar grades.

Lorenz gauge

Maxwell’s equations are completely decoupled if the potential can be found such that

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1580}
\begin{aligned}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{F}}
&=
\gpgrade{ \lr{ \spacegrad – \inv{v} \PD{t}{} } A }{1,2} \\
&=
\lr{ \spacegrad – \inv{v} \PD{t}{} } A.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

When this is the case, Maxwell’s equations are reduced to four non-homogeneous potential wave equations

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1620}
\lr{ \spacegrad^2 – \inv{v^2} \PDSq{t}{} } A = J,
\end{equation}

that is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1600}
\begin{aligned}
\lr{ \spacegrad^2 – \inv{v^2} \PDSq{t}{} } \phi &= – \inv{\epsilon} q_e \\
\lr{ \spacegrad^2 – \inv{v^2} \PDSq{t}{} } \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} &= – \mu \boldsymbol{\mathcal{J}} \\
\lr{ \spacegrad^2 – \inv{v^2} \PDSq{t}{} } \phi_m &= – \frac{I}{\mu} q_m \\
\lr{ \spacegrad^2 – \inv{v^2} \PDSq{t}{} } \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} &= – I \epsilon \boldsymbol{\mathcal{M}}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

There should be no a-priori assumption that such a field representation has no scalar, nor no pseudoscalar components. That explicit expansion in grades is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1640}
\begin{aligned}
\lr{ \spacegrad – \inv{v} \PD{t}{} } A
&=
\lr{ \spacegrad – \inv{v} \PD{t}{} } \lr{ -\phi + v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} + \eta I \lr{ -\phi_m + v \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} } } \\
&=
\inv{v} \partial_t \phi
+ v \spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} \\
&-\spacegrad \phi
+ I \eta v \spacegrad \wedge \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}}
– \partial_t \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} \\
&+ v \spacegrad \wedge \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}}
– \eta I \spacegrad \phi_m
– I \eta \partial_t \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} \\
&+ \eta I \inv{v} \partial_t \phi_m
+ I \eta v \spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}},
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

so if this potential representation has only vector and bivector grades, it must be true that

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1660}
\begin{aligned}
\inv{v} \partial_t \phi + v \spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} &= 0 \\
\inv{v} \partial_t \phi_m + v \spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{m}} &= 0.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

The first is the well known Lorenz gauge condition, whereas the second is the dual of that condition for magnetic sources.

Should one of these conditions, say the Lorenz condition for the electric source potentials, be non-zero, then it is possible to make a potential transformation for which this condition is zero

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1680}
\begin{aligned}
0
&\ne
\inv{v} \partial_t \phi + v \spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}} \\
&=
\inv{v} \partial_t (\phi’ – \partial_t \psi) + v \spacegrad \cdot (\boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}’ + \spacegrad \psi) \\
&=
\inv{v} \partial_t \phi’ + v \spacegrad \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}’
+ v \lr{ \spacegrad^2 – \inv{v^2} \partial_{tt} } \psi,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

so if \( \inv{v} \partial_t \phi’ + v \spacegrad \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}’ \) is zero, \( \psi \) must be found such that
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:potentialMethods:1700}
\inv{v} \partial_t \phi + v \spacegrad \cdot \boldsymbol{\mathcal{A}}^{\mathrm{e}}
= v \lr{ \spacegrad^2 – \inv{v^2} \partial_{tt} } \psi.
\end{equation}

References

[1] Constantine A Balanis. Antenna theory: analysis and design. John Wiley \& Sons, 3rd edition, 2005.

[2] C. Doran and A.N. Lasenby. Geometric algebra for physicists. Cambridge University Press New York, Cambridge, UK, 1st edition, 2003.

[3] David M Pozar. Microwave engineering. John Wiley \& Sons, 2009.

Spherical gradient, divergence, curl and Laplacian

November 9, 2016 math and physics play No comments , , , , , , , , , ,

[Click here for a PDF of this post with nicer formatting]

Unit vectors

Two of the spherical unit vectors we can immediately write by inspection.

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:20}
\begin{aligned}
\rcap &= \Be_1 \sin\theta \cos\phi + \Be_2 \sin\theta \sin\phi + \Be_3 \cos\theta \\
\phicap &= -\Be_1 \sin\theta + \Be_2 \cos\phi
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

We can compute \( \thetacap \) by utilizing the right hand triplet property

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:40}
\begin{aligned}
\thetacap
&=
\phicap \cross \rcap \\
&=
\begin{vmatrix}
\Be_1 & \Be_2 & \Be_3 \\
-S_\phi & C_\phi & 0 \\
S_\theta C_\phi & S_\theta S_\phi & C_\theta \\
\end{vmatrix} \\
&=
\Be_1 \lr{ C_\theta C_\phi }
+\Be_2 \lr{ C_\theta S_\phi }
+\Be_3 \lr{ -S_\theta \lr{ S_\phi^2 + C_\phi^2 } } \\
&=
\Be_1 \cos\theta \cos\phi
+\Be_2 \cos\theta \sin\phi
-\Be_3 \sin\theta.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Here I’ve used \( C_\theta = \cos\theta, S_\phi = \sin\phi, \cdots \) as a convenient shorthand. Observe that with \( i = \Be_1 \Be_2 \), these unit vectors admit a small factorization that makes further manipulation easier

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:80}
\boxed{
\begin{aligned}
\rcap &= \Be_1 e^{i\phi} \sin\theta + \Be_3 \cos\theta \\
\thetacap &= \cos\theta \Be_1 e^{i\phi} – \sin\theta \Be_3 \\
\phicap &= \Be_2 e^{i\phi}
\end{aligned}
}
\end{equation}

It should also be the case that \( \rcap \thetacap \phicap = I \), where \( I = \Be_1 \Be_2 \Be_3 = \Be_{123}\) is the \R{3} pseudoscalar, which is straightforward to check

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:60}
\begin{aligned}
\rcap \thetacap \phicap
&=
\lr{ \Be_1 e^{i\phi} \sin\theta + \Be_3 \cos\theta }
\lr{ \cos\theta \Be_1 e^{i\phi} – \sin\theta \Be_3 }
\Be_2 e^{i\phi} \\
&=
\lr{ \sin\theta \cos\theta – \cos\theta \sin\theta + \Be_{31} e^{i\phi} \lr{ \cos^2\theta + \sin^2\theta } }
\Be_2 e^{i\phi} \\
&=
\Be_{31} \Be_2 e^{-i\phi} e^{i\phi} \\
&=
\Be_{123}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

This property could also have been used to compute \(\thetacap\).

Gradient

To compute the gradient, note that the coordinate vectors for the spherical parameterization are
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:120}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx_r
&= \PD{r}{\Br} \\
&= \PD{r}{\lr{r \rcap}} \\
&= \rcap + r \PD{r}{\rcap} \\
&= \rcap,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:140}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx_\theta
&= \PD{\theta}{\lr{r \rcap} } \\
&= r \PD{\theta}{} \lr{ S_\theta \Be_1 e^{i\phi} + C_\theta \Be_3 } \\
&= r \PD{\theta}{} \lr{ C_\theta \Be_1 e^{i\phi} – S_\theta \Be_3 } \\
&= r \thetacap,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:160}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx_\phi
&= \PD{\phi}{\lr{r \rcap} } \\
&= r \PD{\phi}{} \lr{ S_\theta \Be_1 e^{i\phi} + C_\theta \Be_3 } \\
&= r S_\theta \Be_2 e^{i\phi} \\
&= r \sin\theta \phicap.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Since these are all normal, the dual vectors defined by \( \Bx^j \cdot \Bx_k = \delta^j_k \), can be obtained by inspection
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:180}
\begin{aligned}
\Bx^r &= \rcap \\
\Bx^\theta &= \inv{r} \thetacap \\
\Bx^\phi &= \inv{r \sin\theta} \phicap.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

The gradient follows immediately
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:200}
\spacegrad =
\Bx^r \PD{r}{} +
\Bx^\theta \PD{\theta}{} +
\Bx^\phi \PD{\phicap}{},
\end{equation}

or
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:240}
\boxed{
\spacegrad
=
\rcap \PD{r}{} +
\frac{\thetacap}{r} \PD{\theta}{} +
\frac{\phicap}{r\sin\theta} \PD{\phicap}{}.
}
\end{equation}

More information on this general dual-vector technique of computing the gradient in curvilinear coordinate systems can be found in
[2].

Partials

To compute the divergence, curl and Laplacian, we’ll need the partials of each of the unit vectors \( \PDi{\theta}{\rcap}, \PDi{\phi}{\rcap}, \PDi{\theta}{\thetacap}, \PDi{\phi}{\thetacap}, \PDi{\phi}{\phicap} \).

The \( \thetacap \) partials are

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:260}
\begin{aligned}
\PD{\theta}{\thetacap}
&=
\PD{\theta}{} \lr{
C_\theta \Be_1 e^{i\phi} – S_\theta \Be_3
} \\
&=
-S_\theta \Be_1 e^{i\phi} – C_\theta \Be_3 \\
&=
-\rcap,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:280}
\begin{aligned}
\PD{\phi}{\thetacap}
&=
\PD{\phi}{} \lr{
C_\theta \Be_1 e^{i\phi} – S_\theta \Be_3
} \\
&=
C_\theta \Be_2 e^{i\phi} \\
&=
C_\theta \phicap.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

The \( \phicap \) partials are

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:300}
\begin{aligned}
\PD{\theta}{\phicap}
&=
\PD{\theta}{} \Be_2 e^{i\phi} \\
&=
0.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:320}
\begin{aligned}
\PD{\phi}{\phicap}
&=
\PD{\phi}{} \Be_2 e^{i \phi} \\
&=
-\Be_1 e^{i \phi} \\
&=
-\rcap \gpgradezero{ \rcap \Be_1 e^{i \phi} }
– \thetacap \gpgradezero{ \thetacap \Be_1 e^{i \phi} }
– \phicap \gpgradezero{ \phicap \Be_1 e^{i \phi} } \\
&=
-\rcap \gpgradezero{ \lr{
\Be_1 e^{i\phi} S_\theta + \Be_3 C_\theta
} \Be_1 e^{i \phi} }
– \thetacap \gpgradezero{ \lr{
C_\theta \Be_1 e^{i\phi} – S_\theta \Be_3
} \Be_1 e^{i \phi} } \\
&=
-\rcap \gpgradezero{ e^{-i\phi} S_\theta e^{i \phi} }
– \thetacap \gpgradezero{ C_\theta e^{-i\phi} e^{i \phi} } \\
&=
-\rcap S_\theta
– \thetacap C_\theta.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

The \( \rcap \) partials are were computed as a side effect of evaluating \( \Bx_\theta \), and \( \Bx_\phi \), and are

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:340}
\PD{\theta}{\rcap}
=
\thetacap,
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:360}
\PD{\phi}{\rcap}
=
S_\theta \phicap.
\end{equation}

In summary
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:380}
\boxed{
\begin{aligned}
\partial_{\theta}{\rcap} &= \thetacap \\
\partial_{\phi}{\rcap} &= S_\theta \phicap \\
\partial_{\theta}{\thetacap} &= -\rcap \\
\partial_{\phi}{\thetacap} &= C_\theta \phicap \\
\partial_{\theta}{\phicap} &= 0 \\
\partial_{\phi}{\phicap} &= -\rcap S_\theta – \thetacap C_\theta.
\end{aligned}
}
\end{equation}

Divergence and curl.

The divergence and curl can be computed from the vector product of the spherical coordinate gradient and the spherical representation of a vector. That is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:400}
\spacegrad \BA
= \spacegrad \cdot \BA + \spacegrad \wedge \BA
= \spacegrad \cdot \BA + I \spacegrad \cross \BA.
\end{equation}

That gradient vector product is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:420}
\begin{aligned}
\spacegrad \BA
&=
\lr{
\rcap \partial_{r}
+ \frac{\thetacap}{r} \partial_{\theta}
+ \frac{\phicap}{rS_\theta} \partial_{\phi}
}
\lr{ \rcap A_r + \thetacap A_\theta + \phicap A_\phi} \\
&=
\rcap \partial_{r}
\lr{ \rcap A_r + \thetacap A_\theta + \phicap A_\phi} \\
&+ \frac{\thetacap}{r} \partial_{\theta}
\lr{ \rcap A_r + \thetacap A_\theta + \phicap A_\phi} \\
&+ \frac{\phicap}{rS_\theta} \partial_{\phicap}
\lr{ \rcap A_r + \thetacap A_\theta + \phicap A_\phi} \\
&=
\lr{ \partial_r A_r + \rcap \thetacap \partial_r A_\theta + \rcap \phicap \partial_r A_\phi} \\
&+ \frac{1}{r}
\lr{
\thetacap (\partial_\theta \rcap) A_r + \thetacap (\partial_\theta \thetacap) A_\theta + \thetacap (\partial_\theta \phicap) A_\phi
+\thetacap \rcap \partial_\theta A_r + \partial_\theta A_\theta + \thetacap \phicap \partial_\theta A_\phi
} \\
&+ \frac{1}{rS_\theta}
\lr{
\phicap (\partial_\phi \rcap) A_r + \phicap (\partial_\phi \thetacap) A_\theta + \phicap (\partial_\phi \phicap) A_\phi
+\phicap \rcap \partial_\phi A_r + \phicap \thetacap \partial_\phi A_\theta + \partial_\phi A_\phi
} \\
&=
\lr{ \partial_r A_r + \rcap \thetacap \partial_r A_\theta + \rcap \phicap \partial_r A_\phi} \\
&+ \frac{1}{r}
\lr{
\thetacap (\thetacap) A_r + \thetacap (-\rcap) A_\theta + \thetacap (0) A_\phi
+\thetacap \rcap \partial_\theta A_r + \partial_\theta A_\theta + \thetacap \phicap \partial_\theta A_\phi
} \\
&+ \frac{1}{r S_\theta}
\lr{
\phicap (S_\theta \phicap) A_r + \phicap (C_\theta \phicap) A_\theta – \phicap (\rcap S_\theta + \thetacap C_\theta) A_\phi
+\phicap \rcap \partial_\phi A_r + \phicap \thetacap \partial_\phi A_\theta + \partial_\phi A_\phi
}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

The scalar component of this is the divergence
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:440}
\begin{aligned}
\spacegrad \cdot \BA
&=
\partial_r A_r
+ \frac{A_r}{r}
+ \inv{r} \partial_\theta A_\theta
+ \frac{1}{r S_\theta}
\lr{ S_\theta A_r + C_\theta A_\theta + \partial_\phi A_\phi
} \\
&=
\partial_r A_r
+ 2 \frac{A_r}{r}
+ \inv{r} \partial_\theta A_\theta
+ \frac{1}{r S_\theta}
C_\theta A_\theta
+ \frac{1}{r S_\theta} \partial_\phi A_\phi \\
&=
\partial_r A_r
+ 2 \frac{A_r}{r}
+ \inv{r} \partial_\theta A_\theta
+ \frac{1}{r S_\theta}
C_\theta A_\theta
+ \frac{1}{r S_\theta} \partial_\phi A_\phi,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

which can be factored as
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:460}
\boxed{
\spacegrad \cdot \BA
=
\inv{r^2} \partial_r (r^2 A_r)
+ \inv{r S_\theta} \partial_\theta (S_\theta A_\theta)
+ \frac{1}{r S_\theta} \partial_\phi A_\phi.
}
\end{equation}

The bivector grade of \( \spacegrad \BA \) is the bivector curl
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:480}
\begin{aligned}
\spacegrad \wedge \BA
&=
\lr{
\rcap \thetacap \partial_r A_\theta + \rcap \phicap \partial_r A_\phi
} \\
&\quad + \frac{1}{r}
\lr{
\thetacap (-\rcap) A_\theta
+\thetacap \rcap \partial_\theta A_r + \thetacap \phicap \partial_\theta A_\phi
} \\
&\quad +
\frac{1}{r S_\theta}
\lr{
-\phicap (\rcap S_\theta + \thetacap C_\theta) A_\phi
+\phicap \rcap \partial_\phi A_r + \phicap \thetacap \partial_\phi A_\theta
} \\
&=
\lr{
\rcap \thetacap \partial_r A_\theta – \phicap \rcap \partial_r A_\phi
} \\
&\quad + \frac{1}{r}
\lr{
\rcap \thetacap A_\theta
-\rcap \thetacap \partial_\theta A_r + \thetacap \phicap \partial_\theta A_\phi
} \\
&\quad +
\frac{1}{r S_\theta}
\lr{
-\phicap \rcap S_\theta A_\phi + \thetacap \phicap C_\theta A_\phi
+\phicap \rcap \partial_\phi A_r – \thetacap \phicap \partial_\phi A_\theta
} \\
&=
\thetacap \phicap \lr{
\inv{r S_\theta} C_\theta A_\phi
+\frac{1}{r} \partial_\theta A_\phi
-\frac{1}{r S_\theta} \partial_\phi A_\theta
} \\
&\quad +\phicap \rcap \lr{
-\partial_r A_\phi
+
\frac{1}{r S_\theta}
\lr{
-S_\theta A_\phi
+ \partial_\phi A_r
}
} \\
&\quad +\rcap \thetacap \lr{
\partial_r A_\theta
+ \frac{1}{r} A_\theta
– \inv{r} \partial_\theta A_r
} \\
&=
I
\rcap \lr{
\inv{r S_\theta} \partial_\theta (S_\theta A_\phi)
-\frac{1}{r S_\theta} \partial_\phi A_\theta
}
+ I \thetacap \lr{
\frac{1}{r S_\theta} \partial_\phi A_r
-\inv{r} \partial_r (r A_\phi)
}
+ I \phicap \lr{
\inv{r} \partial_r (r A_\theta)
– \inv{r} \partial_\theta A_r
}
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

This gives
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:500}
\boxed{
\spacegrad \cross \BA
=
\rcap \lr{
\inv{r S_\theta} \partial_\theta (S_\theta A_\phi)
-\frac{1}{r S_\theta} \partial_\phi A_\theta
}
+ \thetacap \lr{
\frac{1}{r S_\theta} \partial_\phi A_r
-\inv{r} \partial_r (r A_\phi)
}
+ \phicap \lr{
\inv{r} \partial_r (r A_\theta)
– \inv{r} \partial_\theta A_r
}.
}
\end{equation}

This and the divergence result above both check against the back cover of [1].

Laplacian

Using the divergence and curl it’s possible to compute the Laplacian from those, but we saw in cylindrical coordinates that it was much harder to do it that way than to do it directly.

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:540}
\begin{aligned}
\spacegrad^2 \psi
&=
\lr{
\rcap \partial_{r} +
\frac{\thetacap}{r} \partial_{\theta} +
\frac{\phicap}{r S_\theta} \partial_{\phi}
}
\lr{
\rcap \partial_{r} \psi
+ \frac{\thetacap}{r} \partial_{\theta} \psi
+ \frac{\phicap}{r S_\theta} \partial_{\phi} \psi
} \\
&=
\partial_{rr} \psi
+ \rcap \thetacap \partial_r \lr{ \inv{r} \partial_\theta \psi}
+ \rcap \phicap \inv{S_\theta} \partial_r \lr{ \inv{r} \partial_\phi \psi } \\
&
\quad + \frac{\thetacap}{r} \partial_{\theta} \lr{ \rcap \partial_{r} \psi }
+ \frac{\thetacap}{r^2} \partial_{\theta} \lr{ \thetacap \partial_{\theta} \psi }
+ \frac{\thetacap}{r^2} \partial_{\theta} \lr{ \frac{\phicap}{S_\theta} \partial_{\phi} \psi } \\
&
\quad + \frac{\phicap}{r S_\theta} \partial_{\phi} \lr{ \rcap \partial_{r} \psi }
+ \frac{\phicap}{r^2 S_\theta} \partial_{\phi} \lr{ \thetacap \partial_{\theta} \psi }
+ \frac{\phicap}{r^2 S_\theta^2} \partial_{\phi} \lr{ \phicap \partial_{\phi} \psi } \\
&=
\partial_{rr} \psi
+ \rcap \thetacap \partial_r \lr{ \inv{r} \partial_\theta \psi}
+ \rcap \phicap \inv{S_\theta} \partial_r \lr{ \inv{r} \partial_\phi \psi } \\
&
\quad + \frac{\thetacap\rcap}{r} \partial_{\theta} \lr{ \partial_{r} \psi }
+ \frac{1}{r^2} \partial_{\theta \theta} \psi
+ \frac{\thetacap \phicap}{r^2} \partial_{\theta} \lr{ \frac{1}{S_\theta} \partial_{\phi} \psi } \\
&
\quad + \frac{\phicap \rcap}{r S_\theta} \partial_{\phi r} \psi
+ \frac{\phicap\thetacap}{r^2 S_\theta} \partial_{\phi\theta} \psi
+ \frac{1}{r^2 S_\theta^2} \partial_{\phi \phi} \psi \\
&
\quad + \frac{\thetacap}{r} (\partial_\theta \rcap) \partial_{r} \psi
+ \frac{\thetacap}{r^2} (\partial_\theta \thetacap) \partial_{\theta} \psi
+ \frac{\thetacap}{r^2} (\partial_\theta \phicap) \frac{\phicap}{S_\theta} \partial_{\phi} \psi \\
&
\quad + \frac{\phicap}{r S_\theta} (\partial_\phi \rcap) \partial_{r} \psi
+ \frac{\phicap}{r^2 S_\theta} (\partial_\phi \thetacap) \partial_{\theta} \psi
+ \frac{\phicap}{r^2 S_\theta^2} (\partial_\phi \phicap) \partial_{\phi} \psi \\
&=
\partial_{rr} \psi
+ \rcap \thetacap \partial_r \lr{ \inv{r} \partial_\theta \psi}
+ \rcap \phicap \inv{S_\theta} \partial_r \lr{ \inv{r} \partial_\phi \psi } \\
&
\quad + \frac{\thetacap\rcap}{r} \partial_{\theta} \lr{ \partial_{r} \psi }
+ \frac{1}{r^2} \partial_{\theta \theta} \psi
+ \frac{\thetacap \phicap}{r^2} \partial_{\theta} \lr{ \frac{1}{S_\theta} \partial_{\phi} \psi } \\
&
\quad + \frac{\phicap \rcap}{r S_\theta} \partial_{\phi r} \psi
+ \frac{\phicap\thetacap}{r^2 S_\theta} \partial_{\phi\theta} \psi
+ \frac{1}{r^2 S_\theta^2} \partial_{\phi \phi} \psi \\
&
\quad + \frac{\thetacap}{r} (\thetacap) \partial_{r} \psi
+ \frac{\thetacap}{r^2} (-\rcap) \partial_{\theta} \psi
+ \frac{\thetacap}{r^2} (0) \frac{\phicap}{S_\theta} \partial_{\phi} \psi \\
&
\quad + \frac{\phicap}{r S_\theta} (S_\theta \phicap) \partial_{r} \psi
+ \frac{\phicap}{r^2 S_\theta} (C_\theta \phicap) \partial_{\theta} \psi
+ \frac{\phicap}{r^2 S_\theta^2} (-\rcap S_\theta – \thetacap C_\theta) \partial_{\phi} \psi
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

All the bivector factors are expected to cancel out, but this should be checked. Those with an \( \rcap \thetacap \) factor are

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:560}
\partial_r \lr{ \inv{r} \partial_\theta \psi}
– \frac{1}{r} \partial_{\theta r} \psi
+ \frac{1}{r^2} \partial_{\theta} \psi
=
-\inv{r^2} \partial_\theta \psi
+\inv{r} \partial_{r \theta} \psi
– \frac{1}{r} \partial_{\theta r} \psi
+ \frac{1}{r^2} \partial_{\theta} \psi
= 0,
\end{equation}

and those with a \( \thetacap \phicap \) factor are
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:580}
\frac{1}{r^2} \partial_{\theta} \lr{ \frac{1}{S_\theta} \partial_{\phi} \psi }
– \frac{1}{r^2 S_\theta} \partial_{\phi\theta} \psi
+ \frac{1}{r^2 S_\theta^2} C_\theta \partial_{\phi} \psi
=
– \frac{1}{r^2} \frac{C_\theta}{S_\theta^2} \partial_{\phi} \psi
+ \frac{1}{r^2 S_\theta} \partial_{\theta \phi} \psi
– \frac{1}{r^2 S_\theta} \partial_{\phi\theta} \psi
+ \frac{1}{r^2 S_\theta^2} C_\theta \partial_{\phi} \psi
= 0,
\end{equation}

and those with a \( \phicap \rcap \) factor are
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:600}
– \inv{S_\theta} \partial_r \lr{ \inv{r} \partial_\phi \psi }
+ \frac{1}{r S_\theta} \partial_{\phi r} \psi
– \frac{1}{r^2 S_\theta^2} S_\theta \partial_{\phi} \psi
=
\inv{S_\theta} \frac{1}{r^2} \partial_\phi \psi
– \inv{r S_\theta} \partial_{r \phi} \psi
+ \frac{1}{r S_\theta} \partial_{\phi r} \psi
– \frac{1}{r^2 S_\theta} \partial_{\phi} \psi
= 0.
\end{equation}

This leaves
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:620}
\spacegrad^2 \psi
=
\partial_{rr} \psi
+ \frac{2}{r} \partial_{r} \psi
+ \frac{1}{r^2} \partial_{\theta \theta} \psi
+ \frac{1}{r^2 S_\theta} C_\theta \partial_{\theta} \psi
+ \frac{1}{r^2 S_\theta^2} \partial_{\phi \phi} \psi.
\end{equation}

This factors nicely as

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:sphericalLaplacian:640}
\boxed{
\spacegrad^2 \psi
=
\inv{r^2} \PD{r}{} \lr{ r^2 \PD{r}{ \psi} }
+ \frac{1}{r^2 \sin\theta} \PD{\theta}{} \lr{ \sin\theta \PD{\theta}{ \psi } }
+ \frac{1}{r^2 \sin\theta^2} \PDSq{\phi}{ \psi}
,
}
\end{equation}

which checks against the back cover of Jackson. Here it has been demonstrated explicitly that this operator expression is valid for multivector fields \( \psi \) as well as scalar fields \( \psi \).

References

[1] JD Jackson. Classical Electrodynamics. John Wiley and Sons, 2nd edition, 1975.

[2] A. Macdonald. Vector and Geometric Calculus. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012.

Gradient, divergence, curl and Laplacian in cylindrical coordinates

November 6, 2016 math and physics play No comments , , , , , , , , , , , ,

[Click here for a PDF of this post with nicer formatting]

In class it was suggested that the identity

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:laplacianCylindrical:20}
\spacegrad^2 \BA =
\spacegrad \lr{ \spacegrad \cdot \BA }
-\spacegrad \cross \lr{ \spacegrad \cross \BA },
\end{equation}

can be used to compute the Laplacian in non-rectangular coordinates. Is that the easiest way to do this?

How about just sequential applications of the gradient on the vector? Let’s start with the vector product of the gradient and the vector. First recall that the cylindrical representation of the gradient is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:laplacianCylindrical:80}
\spacegrad = \rhocap \partial_\rho + \frac{\phicap}{\rho} \partial_\phi + \zcap \partial_z,
\end{equation}

where
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:laplacianCylindrical:100}
\begin{aligned}
\rhocap &= \Be_1 e^{\Be_1 \Be_2 \phi} \\
\phicap &= \Be_2 e^{\Be_1 \Be_2 \phi} \\
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Taking \( \phi \) derivatives of \ref{eqn:laplacianCylindrical:100}, we have

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:laplacianCylindrical:120}
\begin{aligned}
\partial_\phi \rhocap &= \Be_1 \Be_1 \Be_2 e^{\Be_1 \Be_2 \phi} = \Be_2 e^{\Be_1 \Be_2 \phi} = \phicap \\
\partial_\phi \phicap &= \Be_2 \Be_1 \Be_2 e^{\Be_1 \Be_2 \phi} = -\Be_1 e^{\Be_1 \Be_2 \phi} = -\rhocap.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

The gradient of a vector \( \BA = \rhocap A_\rho + \phicap A_\phi + \zcap A_z \) is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:laplacianCylindrical:60}
\begin{aligned}
\spacegrad \BA
&=
\lr{ \rhocap \partial_\rho + \frac{\phicap}{\rho} \partial_\phi + \zcap \partial_z }
\lr{ \rhocap A_\rho + \phicap A_\phi + \zcap A_z } \\
&=
\quad \rhocap \partial_\rho \lr{ \rhocap A_\rho + \phicap A_\phi + \zcap A_z } \\
&\quad + \frac{\phicap}{\rho} \partial_\phi \lr{ \rhocap A_\rho + \phicap A_\phi + \zcap A_z } \\
&\quad + \zcap \partial_z \lr{ \rhocap A_\rho + \phicap A_\phi + \zcap A_z } \\
&=
\quad \rhocap \lr{ \rhocap \partial_\rho A_\rho + \phicap \partial_\rho A_\phi + \zcap \partial_\rho A_z } \\
&\quad + \frac{\phicap}{\rho} \lr{ \partial_\phi(\rhocap A_\rho) + \partial_\phi(\phicap A_\phi) + \zcap \partial_\phi A_z } \\
&\quad + \zcap \lr{ \rhocap \partial_z A_\rho + \phicap \partial_z A_\phi + \zcap \partial_z A_z } \\
&=
\quad \partial_\rho A_\rho + \rhocap \phicap \partial_\rho A_\phi + \rhocap \zcap \partial_\rho A_z \\
&\quad +\frac{1}{\rho} \lr{ A_\rho + \phicap \rhocap \partial_\phi A_\rho – \phicap \rhocap A_\phi + \partial_\phi A_\phi + \phicap \zcap \partial_\phi A_z } \\
&\quad + \zcap \rhocap \partial_z A_\rho + \zcap \phicap \partial_z A_\phi + \partial_z A_z \\
&=
\quad \partial_\rho A_\rho + \frac{1}{\rho} \lr{ A_\rho + \partial_\phi A_\phi } + \partial_z A_z \\
&\quad +
\zcap \rhocap \lr{
\partial_z A_\rho
-\partial_\rho A_z
} \\
&\quad +
\phicap \zcap \lr{
\inv{\rho} \partial_\phi A_z
– \partial_z A_\phi
} \\
&\quad +
\rhocap \phicap \lr{
\partial_\rho A_\phi
– \inv{\rho} \lr{ \partial_\phi A_\rho – A_\phi }
},
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

As expected, we see that the gradient splits nicely into a dot and curl

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:laplacianCylindrical:160}
\begin{aligned}
\spacegrad \BA
&= \spacegrad \cdot \BA + \spacegrad \wedge \BA \\
&= \spacegrad \cdot \BA + \rhocap \phicap \zcap (\spacegrad \cross \BA ),
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

where the cylindrical representation of the divergence is seen to be

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:laplacianCylindrical:140}
\spacegrad \cdot \BA
=
\inv{\rho} \partial_\rho (\rho A_\rho) + \frac{1}{\rho} \partial_\phi A_\phi + \partial_z A_z,
\end{equation}

and the cylindrical representation of the curl is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:laplacianCylindrical:180}
\spacegrad \cross \BA
=
\rhocap
\lr{
\inv{\rho} \partial_\phi A_z
– \partial_z A_\phi
}
+
\phicap
\lr{
\partial_z A_\rho
-\partial_\rho A_z
}
+
\inv{\rho} \zcap \lr{
\partial_\rho ( \rho A_\phi )
– \partial_\phi A_\rho
}.
\end{equation}

Should we want to, it is now possible to evaluate the Laplacian of \( \BA \) using
\ref{eqn:laplacianCylindrical:20}
, which will have the following components

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:laplacianCylindrical:220}
\begin{aligned}
\rhocap \cdot \lr{ \spacegrad^2 \BA }
&=
\partial_\rho
\lr{
\inv{\rho} \partial_\rho (\rho A_\rho) + \frac{1}{\rho} \partial_\phi A_\phi + \partial_z A_z
}

\lr{
\inv{\rho} \partial_\phi \lr{
\inv{\rho} \lr{
\partial_\rho ( \rho A_\phi ) – \partial_\phi A_\rho
}
}
– \partial_z \lr{
\partial_z A_\rho -\partial_\rho A_z
}
} \\
&=
\partial_\rho \lr{ \inv{\rho} \partial_\rho (\rho A_\rho)}
+ \partial_\rho \lr{ \frac{1}{\rho} \partial_\phi A_\phi}
+ \partial_{\rho z} A_z
– \inv{\rho^2}\partial_{\phi \rho} ( \rho A_\phi )
+ \inv{\rho^2}\partial_{\phi\phi} A_\rho
+ \partial_{zz} A_\rho
– \partial_{z\rho} A_z \\
&=
\partial_\rho \lr{ \inv{\rho} \partial_\rho (\rho A_\rho)}
+ \inv{\rho^2}\partial_{\phi\phi} A_\rho
+ \partial_{zz} A_\rho
– \frac{1}{\rho^2} \partial_\phi A_\phi
+ \frac{1}{\rho} \partial_{\rho\phi} A_\phi
– \inv{\rho^2}\partial_{\phi} A_\phi
– \inv{\rho}\partial_{\phi\rho} A_\phi \\
&=
\partial_\rho \lr{ \inv{\rho} \partial_\rho (\rho A_\rho)}
+ \inv{\rho^2}\partial_{\phi\phi} A_\rho
+ \partial_{zz} A_\rho
– \frac{2}{\rho^2} \partial_\phi A_\phi \\
&=
\inv{\rho} \partial_\rho \lr{ \rho \partial_\rho A_\rho}
+ \inv{\rho^2}\partial_{\phi\phi} A_\rho
+ \partial_{zz} A_\rho
– \frac{A_\rho}{\rho^2}
– \frac{2}{\rho^2} \partial_\phi A_\phi,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:laplacianCylindrical:240}
\begin{aligned}
\phicap \cdot \lr{ \spacegrad^2 \BA }
&=
\inv{\rho} \partial_\phi
\lr{
\inv{\rho} \partial_\rho (\rho A_\rho) + \frac{1}{\rho} \partial_\phi A_\phi + \partial_z A_z
}

\lr{
\lr{
\partial_z \lr{
\inv{\rho} \partial_\phi A_z – \partial_z A_\phi
}
-\partial_\rho \lr{
\inv{\rho} \lr{ \partial_\rho ( \rho A_\phi ) – \partial_\phi A_\rho}
}
}
} \\
&=
\inv{\rho^2} \partial_{\phi\rho} (\rho A_\rho)
+ \frac{1}{\rho^2} \partial_{\phi\phi} A_\phi
+ \inv{\rho}\partial_{\phi z} A_z
– \inv{\rho} \partial_{z\phi} A_z
+ \partial_{z z} A_\phi
+\partial_\rho \lr{ \inv{\rho} \partial_\rho ( \rho A_\phi ) }
– \partial_\rho \lr{ \inv{\rho} \partial_\phi A_\rho} \\
&=
\partial_\rho \lr{ \inv{\rho} \partial_\rho ( \rho A_\phi ) }
+ \frac{1}{\rho^2} \partial_{\phi\phi} A_\phi
+ \partial_{z z} A_\phi
+ \inv{\rho^2} \partial_{\phi\rho} (\rho A_\rho)
+ \inv{\rho}\partial_{\phi z} A_z
– \inv{\rho} \partial_{z\phi} A_z
– \partial_\rho \lr{ \inv{\rho} \partial_\phi A_\rho} \\
&=
\partial_\rho \lr{ \inv{\rho} \partial_\rho ( \rho A_\phi ) }
+ \frac{1}{\rho^2} \partial_{\phi\phi} A_\phi
+ \partial_{z z} A_\phi
+ \inv{\rho^2} \partial_{\phi} A_\rho
+ \inv{\rho} \partial_{\phi\rho} A_\rho
+ \inv{\rho^2} \partial_\phi A_\rho
– \inv{\rho} \partial_{\rho\phi} A_\rho \\
&=
\partial_\rho \lr{ \inv{\rho} \partial_\rho ( \rho A_\phi ) }
+ \frac{1}{\rho^2} \partial_{\phi\phi} A_\phi
+ \partial_{z z} A_\phi
+ \frac{2}{\rho^2} \partial_{\phi} A_\rho \\
&=
\inv{\rho} \partial_\rho \lr{ \rho \partial_\rho A_\phi }
+ \frac{1}{\rho^2} \partial_{\phi\phi} A_\phi
+ \partial_{z z} A_\phi
+ \frac{2}{\rho^2} \partial_{\phi} A_\rho
– \frac{A_\phi}{\rho^2},
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:laplacianCylindrical:260}
\begin{aligned}
\zcap \cdot \lr{ \spacegrad^2 \BA }
&=
\partial_z
\lr{
\inv{\rho} \partial_\rho (\rho A_\rho) + \frac{1}{\rho} \partial_\phi A_\phi + \partial_z A_z
}

\inv{\rho} \lr{
\partial_\rho \lr{ \rho \lr{
\partial_z A_\rho -\partial_\rho A_z
}
}
– \partial_\phi \lr{
\inv{\rho} \partial_\phi A_z – \partial_z A_\phi
}
} \\
&=
\inv{\rho} \partial_{z\rho} (\rho A_\rho)
+ \frac{1}{\rho} \partial_{z\phi} A_\phi
+ \partial_{zz} A_z
– \inv{\rho}\partial_\rho \lr{ \rho \partial_z A_\rho }
+ \inv{\rho}\partial_\rho \lr{ \rho \partial_\rho A_z }
+ \inv{\rho^2} \partial_{\phi\phi} A_z
– \inv{\rho} \partial_{\phi z} A_\phi \\
&=
\inv{\rho}\partial_\rho \lr{ \rho \partial_\rho A_z }
+ \inv{\rho^2} \partial_{\phi\phi} A_z
+ \partial_{zz} A_z
+ \inv{\rho} \partial_{z} A_\rho
+\partial_{z\rho} A_\rho
+ \frac{1}{\rho} \partial_{z\phi} A_\phi
– \inv{\rho}\partial_z A_\rho
– \partial_{\rho z} A_\rho
– \inv{\rho} \partial_{\phi z} A_\phi \\
&=
\inv{\rho}\partial_\rho \lr{ \rho \partial_\rho A_z }
+ \inv{\rho^2} \partial_{\phi\phi} A_z
+ \partial_{zz} A_z
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Evaluating these was a fairly tedious and mechanical job, and would have been better suited to a computer algebra system than by hand as done here.

Explicit cylindrical Laplacian

Let’s try this a different way. The most obvious potential strategy is to just apply the Laplacian to the vector itself, but we need to include the unit vectors in such an operation

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:laplacianCylindrical:280}
\spacegrad^2 \BA =
\spacegrad^2 \lr{ \rhocap A_\rho + \phicap A_\phi + \zcap A_z }.
\end{equation}

First we need to know the explicit form of the cylindrical Laplacian. From the painful expansion, we can guess that it is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:laplacianCylindrical:300}
\spacegrad^2 \psi
=
\inv{\rho}\partial_\rho \lr{ \rho \partial_\rho \psi }
+ \inv{\rho^2} \partial_{\phi\phi} \psi
+ \partial_{zz} \psi.
\end{equation}

Let’s check that explicitly. Here I use the vector product where \( \rhocap^2 = \phicap^2 = \zcap^2 = 1 \), and these vectors anticommute when different

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:laplacianCylindrical:320}
\begin{aligned}
\spacegrad^2 \psi
&=
\lr{ \rhocap \partial_\rho + \frac{\phicap}{\rho} \partial_\phi + \zcap \partial_z }
\lr{ \rhocap \partial_\rho \psi + \frac{\phicap}{\rho} \partial_\phi \psi + \zcap \partial_z \psi } \\
&=
\rhocap \partial_\rho
\lr{ \rhocap \partial_\rho \psi + \frac{\phicap}{\rho} \partial_\phi \psi + \zcap \partial_z \psi }
+ \frac{\phicap}{\rho} \partial_\phi
\lr{ \rhocap \partial_\rho \psi + \frac{\phicap}{\rho} \partial_\phi \psi + \zcap \partial_z \psi }
+ \zcap \partial_z
\lr{ \rhocap \partial_\rho \psi + \frac{\phicap}{\rho} \partial_\phi \psi + \zcap \partial_z \psi } \\
&=
\partial_{\rho\rho} \psi
+ \rhocap \phicap \partial_\rho \lr{ \frac{1}{\rho} \partial_\phi \psi}
+ \rhocap \zcap \partial_{\rho z} \psi
+ \frac{\phicap}{\rho} \partial_\phi \lr{ \rhocap \partial_\rho \psi }
+ \frac{\phicap}{\rho} \partial_\phi \lr{ \frac{\phicap}{\rho} \partial_\phi \psi }
+ \frac{\phicap \zcap }{\rho} \partial_{\phi z} \psi
+ \zcap \rhocap \partial_{z\rho} \psi
+ \frac{\zcap \phicap}{\rho} \partial_{z\phi} \psi
+ \partial_{zz} \psi \\
&=
\partial_{\rho\rho} \psi
+ \inv{\rho} \partial_\rho \psi
+ \frac{1}{\rho^2} \partial_{\phi \phi} \psi
+ \partial_{zz} \psi
+ \rhocap \phicap
\lr{
-\frac{1}{\rho^2} \partial_\phi \psi
+\frac{1}{\rho} \partial_{\rho \phi} \psi
-\inv{\rho} \partial_{\phi \rho} \psi
+ \frac{1}{\rho^2} \partial_\phi \psi
}
+ \zcap \rhocap \lr{
-\partial_{\rho z} \psi
+ \partial_{z\rho} \psi
}
+ \phicap \zcap \lr{
\inv{\rho} \partial_{\phi z} \psi
– \inv{\rho} \partial_{z\phi} \psi
} \\
&=
\partial_{\rho\rho} \psi
+ \inv{\rho} \partial_\rho \psi
+ \frac{1}{\rho^2} \partial_{\phi \phi} \psi
+ \partial_{zz} \psi,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

so the Laplacian operator is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:laplacianCylindrical:340}
\boxed{
\spacegrad^2
=
\inv{\rho} \PD{\rho}{} \lr{ \rho \PD{\rho}{} }
+ \frac{1}{\rho^2} \PDSq{\phi}{}
+ \PDSq{z}{}.
}
\end{equation}

All the bivector grades of the Laplacian operator are seen to explicitly cancel, regardless of the grade of \( \psi \), just as if we had expanded the scalar Laplacian as a dot product
\( \spacegrad^2 \psi = \spacegrad \cdot \lr{ \spacegrad \psi} \).
Unlike such a scalar expansion, this derivation is seen to be valid for any grade \( \psi \). We know now that we can trust this result when \( \psi \) is a scalar, a vector, a bivector, a trivector, or even a multivector.

Vector Laplacian

Now that we trust that the typical scalar form of the Laplacian applies equally well to multivectors as it does to scalars, that cylindrical coordinate operator can now be applied to a
vector. Consider the projections onto each of the directions in turn

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:laplacianCylindrical:360}
\spacegrad^2 \lr{ \rhocap A_\rho }
=
\rhocap \inv{\rho} \partial_\rho \lr{ \rho \partial_\rho A_\rho }
+ \frac{1}{\rho^2} \partial_{\phi\phi} \lr{\rhocap A_\rho}
+ \rhocap \partial_{zz} A_\rho
\end{equation}

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:laplacianCylindrical:380}
\begin{aligned}
\partial_{\phi\phi} \lr{\rhocap A_\rho}
&=
\partial_\phi \lr{ \phicap A_\rho + \rhocap \partial_\phi A_\rho } \\
&=
-\rhocap A_\rho
+\phicap \partial_\phi A_\rho
+ \phicap \partial_\phi A_\rho
+ \rhocap \partial_{\phi\phi} A_\rho \\
&=
\rhocap \lr{ \partial_{\phi\phi} A_\rho -A_\rho }
+ 2 \phicap \partial_\phi A_\rho
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

so this component of the vector Laplacian is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:laplacianCylindrical:400}
\begin{aligned}
\spacegrad^2 \lr{ \rhocap A_\rho }
&=
\rhocap
\lr{
\inv{\rho} \partial_\rho \lr{ \rho \partial_\rho A_\rho }
+ \inv{\rho^2} \partial_{\phi\phi} A_\rho
– \inv{\rho^2} A_\rho
+ \partial_{zz} A_\rho
}
+
\phicap
\lr{
2 \inv{\rho^2} \partial_\phi A_\rho
} \\
&=
\rhocap \lr{
\spacegrad^2 A_\rho
– \inv{\rho^2} A_\rho
}
+
\phicap
\frac{2}{\rho^2} \partial_\phi A_\rho
.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

The Laplacian for the projection of the vector onto the \( \phicap \) direction is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:laplacianCylindrical:420}
\spacegrad^2 \lr{ \phicap A_\phi }
=
\phicap \inv{\rho} \partial_\rho \lr{ \rho \partial_\rho A_\phi }
+ \frac{1}{\rho^2} \partial_{\phi\phi} \lr{\phicap A_\phi}
+ \phicap \partial_{zz} A_\phi,
\end{equation}

Again, since the unit vectors are \( \phi \) dependent, the \( \phi \) derivatives have to be treated carefully

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:laplacianCylindrical:440}
\begin{aligned}
\partial_{\phi\phi} \lr{\phicap A_\phi}
&=
\partial_{\phi} \lr{-\rhocap A_\phi + \phicap \partial_\phi A_\phi} \\
&=
-\phicap A_\phi
-\rhocap \partial_\phi A_\phi
– \rhocap \partial_\phi A_\phi
+ \phicap \partial_{\phi \phi} A_\phi \\
&=
– 2 \rhocap \partial_\phi A_\phi
+
\phicap
\lr{
\partial_{\phi \phi} A_\phi
– A_\phi
},
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

so the Laplacian of this projection is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:laplacianCylindrical:460}
\begin{aligned}
\spacegrad^2 \lr{ \phicap A_\phi }
&=
\phicap
\lr{
\inv{\rho} \partial_\rho \lr{ \rho \partial_\rho A_\phi }
+ \phicap \partial_{zz} A_\phi,
\inv{\rho^2} \partial_{\phi \phi} A_\phi
– \frac{A_\phi }{\rho^2}
}
– \rhocap \frac{2}{\rho^2} \partial_\phi A_\phi \\
&=
\phicap \lr{
\spacegrad^2 A_\phi
– \frac{A_\phi}{\rho^2}
}
– \rhocap \frac{2}{\rho^2} \partial_\phi A_\phi.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Since \( \zcap \) is fixed we have

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:laplacianCylindrical:480}
\spacegrad^2 \zcap A_z
=
\zcap \spacegrad^2 A_z.
\end{equation}

Putting all the pieces together we have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:laplacianCylindrical:500}
\boxed{
\spacegrad^2 \BA
=
\rhocap \lr{
\spacegrad^2 A_\rho
– \inv{\rho^2} A_\rho
– \frac{2}{\rho^2} \partial_\phi A_\phi
}
+\phicap \lr{
\spacegrad^2 A_\phi
– \frac{A_\phi}{\rho^2}
+ \frac{2}{\rho^2} \partial_\phi A_\rho
}
+
\zcap \spacegrad^2 A_z.
}
\end{equation}

This matches the results of \ref{eqn:laplacianCylindrical:220}, …, from the painful expansion of
\( \spacegrad \lr{ \spacegrad \cdot \BA } – \spacegrad \cross \lr{ \spacegrad \cross \BA } \).

Helmholtz theorem

October 1, 2016 math and physics play No comments , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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This is a problem from ece1228. I attempted solutions in a number of ways. One using Geometric Algebra, one devoid of that algebra, and then this method, which combined aspects of both. Of the three methods I tried to obtain this result, this is the most compact and elegant. It does however, require a fair bit of Geometric Algebra knowledge, including the Fundamental Theorem of Geometric Calculus, as detailed in [1], [3] and [2].

Question: Helmholtz theorem

Prove the first Helmholtz’s theorem, i.e. if vector \(\BM\) is defined by its divergence

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:helmholtzDerviationMultivector:20}
\spacegrad \cdot \BM = s
\end{equation}

and its curl
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:helmholtzDerviationMultivector:40}
\spacegrad \cross \BM = \BC
\end{equation}

within a region and its normal component \( \BM_{\textrm{n}} \) over the boundary, then \( \BM \) is
uniquely specified.

Answer

The gradient of the vector \( \BM \) can be written as a single even grade multivector

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:helmholtzDerviationMultivector:60}
\spacegrad \BM
= \spacegrad \cdot \BM + I \spacegrad \cross \BM
= s + I \BC.
\end{equation}

We will use this to attempt to discover the relation between the vector \( \BM \) and its divergence and curl. We can express \( \BM \) at the point of interest as a convolution with the delta function at all other points in space

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:helmholtzDerviationMultivector:80}
\BM(\Bx) = \int_V dV’ \delta(\Bx – \Bx’) \BM(\Bx’).
\end{equation}

The Laplacian representation of the delta function in \R{3} is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:helmholtzDerviationMultivector:100}
\delta(\Bx – \Bx’) = -\inv{4\pi} \spacegrad^2 \inv{\Abs{\Bx – \Bx’}},
\end{equation}

so \( \BM \) can be represented as the following convolution

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:helmholtzDerviationMultivector:120}
\BM(\Bx) = -\inv{4\pi} \int_V dV’ \spacegrad^2 \inv{\Abs{\Bx – \Bx’}} \BM(\Bx’).
\end{equation}

Using this relation and proceeding with a few applications of the chain rule, plus the fact that \( \spacegrad 1/\Abs{\Bx – \Bx’} = -\spacegrad’ 1/\Abs{\Bx – \Bx’} \), we find

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:helmholtzDerviationMultivector:720}
\begin{aligned}
-4 \pi \BM(\Bx)
&= \int_V dV’ \spacegrad^2 \inv{\Abs{\Bx – \Bx’}} \BM(\Bx’) \\
&= \gpgradeone{\int_V dV’ \spacegrad^2 \inv{\Abs{\Bx – \Bx’}} \BM(\Bx’)} \\
&= -\gpgradeone{\int_V dV’ \spacegrad \lr{ \spacegrad’ \inv{\Abs{\Bx – \Bx’}}} \BM(\Bx’)} \\
&= -\gpgradeone{\spacegrad \int_V dV’ \lr{
\spacegrad’ \frac{\BM(\Bx’)}{\Abs{\Bx – \Bx’}}
-\frac{\spacegrad’ \BM(\Bx’)}{\Abs{\Bx – \Bx’}}
} } \\
&=
-\gpgradeone{\spacegrad \int_{\partial V} dA’
\ncap \frac{\BM(\Bx’)}{\Abs{\Bx – \Bx’}}
}
+\gpgradeone{\spacegrad \int_V dV’
\frac{s(\Bx’) + I\BC(\Bx’)}{\Abs{\Bx – \Bx’}}
} \\
&=
-\gpgradeone{\spacegrad \int_{\partial V} dA’
\ncap \frac{\BM(\Bx’)}{\Abs{\Bx – \Bx’}}
}
+\spacegrad \int_V dV’
\frac{s(\Bx’)}{\Abs{\Bx – \Bx’}}
+\spacegrad \cdot \int_V dV’
\frac{I\BC(\Bx’)}{\Abs{\Bx – \Bx’}}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

By inserting a no-op grade selection operation in the second step, the trivector terms that would show up in subsequent steps are automatically filtered out. This leaves us with a boundary term dependent on the surface and the normal and tangential components of \( \BM \). Added to that is a pair of volume integrals that provide the unique dependence of \( \BM \) on its divergence and curl. When the surface is taken to infinity, which requires \( \Abs{\BM}/\Abs{\Bx – \Bx’} \rightarrow 0 \), then the dependence of \( \BM \) on its divergence and curl is unique.

In order to express final result in traditional vector algebra form, a couple transformations are required. The first is that

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:helmholtzDerviationMultivector:800}
\gpgradeone{ \Ba I \Bb } = I^2 \Ba \cross \Bb = -\Ba \cross \Bb.
\end{equation}

For the grade selection in the boundary integral, note that

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:helmholtzDerviationMultivector:740}
\begin{aligned}
\gpgradeone{ \spacegrad \ncap \BX }
&=
\gpgradeone{ \spacegrad (\ncap \cdot \BX) }
+
\gpgradeone{ \spacegrad (\ncap \wedge \BX) } \\
&=
\spacegrad (\ncap \cdot \BX)
+
\gpgradeone{ \spacegrad I (\ncap \cross \BX) } \\
&=
\spacegrad (\ncap \cdot \BX)

\spacegrad \cross (\ncap \cross \BX).
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

These give

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:helmholtzDerviationMultivector:721}
\boxed{
\begin{aligned}
\BM(\Bx)
&=
\spacegrad \inv{4\pi} \int_{\partial V} dA’ \ncap \cdot \frac{\BM(\Bx’)}{\Abs{\Bx – \Bx’}}

\spacegrad \cross \inv{4\pi} \int_{\partial V} dA’ \ncap \cross \frac{\BM(\Bx’)}{\Abs{\Bx – \Bx’}} \\
&-\spacegrad \inv{4\pi} \int_V dV’
\frac{s(\Bx’)}{\Abs{\Bx – \Bx’}}
+\spacegrad \cross \inv{4\pi} \int_V dV’
\frac{\BC(\Bx’)}{\Abs{\Bx – \Bx’}}.
\end{aligned}
}
\end{equation}

References

[1] C. Doran and A.N. Lasenby. Geometric algebra for physicists. Cambridge University Press New York, Cambridge, UK, 1st edition, 2003.

[2] A. Macdonald. Vector and Geometric Calculus. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012.

[3] Garret Sobczyk and Omar Le’on S’anchez. Fundamental theorem of calculus. Advances in Applied Clifford Algebras, 21:221–231, 2011. URL http://arxiv.org/abs/0809.4526.

Does the divergence and curl uniquely determine the vector?

September 30, 2016 math and physics play No comments , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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A problem posed in the ece1228 problem set was the following

Helmholtz theorem.

Prove the first Helmholtz’s theorem, i.e. if vector \(\BM\) is defined by its divergence

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:emtProblemSet1Problem5:20}
\spacegrad \cdot \BM = s
\end{equation}

and its curl
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:emtProblemSet1Problem5:40}
\spacegrad \cross \BM = \BC
\end{equation}

within a region and its normal component \( \BM_{\textrm{n}} \) over the boundary, then \( \BM \) is uniquely specified.

Solution.

This problem screams for an attempt using Geometric Algebra techniques, since
the gradient of this vector can be written as a single even grade multivector

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:emtProblemSet1Problem5AppendixGA:60}
\begin{aligned}
\spacegrad \BM
&= \spacegrad \cdot \BM + I \spacegrad \cross \BM \\
&= s + I \BC.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Observe that the Laplacian of \( \BM \) is vector valued

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:emtProblemSet1Problem5AppendixGA:400}
\spacegrad^2 \BM
= \spacegrad s + I \spacegrad \BC.
\end{equation}

This means that \( \spacegrad \BC \) must be a bivector \( \spacegrad \BC = \spacegrad \wedge \BC \), or that \( \BC \) has zero divergence

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:emtProblemSet1Problem5AppendixGA:420}
\spacegrad \cdot \BC = 0.
\end{equation}

This required constraint on \( \BC \) will show up in subsequent analysis. An equivalent problem to the one posed
is to show that the even grade multivector equation \( \spacegrad \BM = s + I \BC \) has an inverse given the constraint
specified by \ref{eqn:emtProblemSet1Problem5AppendixGA:420}.

Inverting the gradient equation.

The Green’s function for the gradient can be found in [1], where it is used to generalize the Cauchy integral equations to higher dimensions.

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:emtProblemSet1Problem5AppendixGA:80}
\begin{aligned}
G(\Bx ; \Bx’) &= \inv{4 \pi} \frac{ \Bx – \Bx’ }{\Abs{\Bx – \Bx’}^3} \\
\spacegrad \BG(\Bx, \Bx’) &= \spacegrad \cdot \BG(\Bx, \Bx’) = \delta(\Bx – \Bx’) = -\spacegrad’ \BG(\Bx, \Bx’).
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

The inversion equation is an application of the Fundamental Theorem of (Geometric) Calculus, with the gradient operating bidirectionally on the Green’s function and the vector function

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:emtProblemSet1Problem5AppendixGA:100}
\begin{aligned}
\oint_{\partial V} G(\Bx, \Bx’) d^2 \Bx’ \BM(\Bx’)
&=
\int_V G(\Bx, \Bx’) d^3 \Bx \lrspacegrad’ \BM(\Bx’) \\
&=
\int_V d^3 \Bx (G(\Bx, \Bx’) \lspacegrad’) \BM(\Bx’)
+
\int_V d^3 \Bx G(\Bx, \Bx’) (\spacegrad’ \BM(\Bx’)) \\
&=
-\int_V d^3 \Bx \delta(\Bx – \By) \BM(\Bx’)
+
\int_V d^3 \Bx G(\Bx, \Bx’) \lr{ s(\Bx’) + I \BC(\Bx’) } \\
&=
-I \BM(\Bx)
+
\inv{4 \pi} \int_V d^3 \Bx \frac{ \Bx – \Bx’}{ \Abs{\Bx – \Bx’}^3 } \lr{ s(\Bx’) + I \BC(\Bx’) }.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

The integrals are in terms of the primed coordinates so that the end result is a function of \( \Bx \). To rearrange for \( \BM \), let \( d^3 \Bx’ = I dV’ \), and \( d^2 \Bx’ \ncap(\Bx’) = I dA’ \), then right multiply with the pseudoscalar \( I \), noting that in \R{3} the pseudoscalar commutes with any grades

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:emtProblemSet1Problem5AppendixGA:440}
\begin{aligned}
\BM(\Bx)
&=
I \oint_{\partial V} G(\Bx, \Bx’) I dA’ \ncap \BM(\Bx’)

I \inv{4 \pi} \int_V I dV’ \frac{ \Bx – \Bx’}{ \Abs{\Bx – \Bx’}^3 } \lr{ s(\Bx’) + I \BC(\Bx’) } \\
&=
-\oint_{\partial V} dA’ G(\Bx, \Bx’) \ncap \BM(\Bx’)
+
\inv{4 \pi} \int_V dV’ \frac{ \Bx – \Bx’}{ \Abs{\Bx – \Bx’}^3 } \lr{ s(\Bx’) + I \BC(\Bx’) }.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

This can be decomposed into a vector and a trivector equation. Let \( \Br = \Bx – \Bx’ = r \rcap \), and note that

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:emtProblemSet1Problem5AppendixGA:500}
\begin{aligned}
\gpgradeone{ \rcap I \BC }
&=
\gpgradeone{ I \rcap \BC } \\
&=
I \rcap \wedge \BC \\
&=
-\rcap \cross \BC,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

so this pair of equations can be written as

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:emtProblemSet1Problem5AppendixGA:520}
\begin{aligned}
\BM(\Bx)
&=
-\inv{4 \pi} \oint_{\partial V} dA’ \frac{\gpgradeone{ \rcap \ncap \BM(\Bx’) }}{r^2}
+
\inv{4 \pi} \int_V dV’ \lr{
\frac{\rcap}{r^2} s(\Bx’) –
\frac{\rcap}{r^2} \cross \BC(\Bx’) } \\
0
&=
-\inv{4 \pi} \oint_{\partial V} dA’ \frac{\rcap}{r^2} \wedge \ncap \wedge \BM(\Bx’)
+
\frac{I}{4 \pi} \int_V dV’ \frac{ \rcap \cdot \BC(\Bx’) }{r^2}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Trivector grades.

Consider the last integral in the pseudoscalar equation above. Since we expect no pseudoscalar components, this must be zero, or cancel perfectly. It’s not obvious that this is the case, but a transformation to a surface integral shows the constraints required for that to be the case. To do so note

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:emtProblemSet1Problem5AppendixGA:540}
\begin{aligned}
\spacegrad \inv{\Bx – \Bx’}
&= -\spacegrad’ \inv{\Bx – \Bx’} \\
&=
-\frac{\Bx – \Bx’}{\Abs{\Bx – \Bx’}^3} \\
&= -\frac{\rcap}{r^2}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Using this and the chain rule we have

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:emtProblemSet1Problem5AppendixGA:560}
\begin{aligned}
\frac{I}{4 \pi} \int_V dV’ \frac{ \rcap \cdot \BC(\Bx’) }{r^2}
&=
\frac{I}{4 \pi} \int_V dV’ \lr{ \spacegrad’ \inv{ r } } \cdot \BC(\Bx’) \\
&=
\frac{I}{4 \pi} \int_V dV’ \spacegrad’ \cdot \frac{\BC(\Bx’)}{r}

\frac{I}{4 \pi} \int_V dV’ \frac{ \spacegrad’ \cdot \BC(\Bx’) }{r} \\
&=
\frac{I}{4 \pi} \int_V dV’ \spacegrad’ \cdot \frac{\BC(\Bx’)}{r} \\
&=
\frac{I}{4 \pi} \int_{\partial V} dA’ \ncap(\Bx’) \cdot \frac{\BC(\Bx’)}{r}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

The divergence of \( \BC \) above was killed by recalling the constraint \ref{eqn:emtProblemSet1Problem5AppendixGA:420}. This means that we can rewrite entirely as surface integral and eventually reduced to a single triple product

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:emtProblemSet1Problem5AppendixGA:580}
\begin{aligned}
0
&=
-\frac{I}{4 \pi} \oint_{\partial V} dA’ \lr{
\frac{\rcap}{r^2} \cdot (\ncap \cross \BM(\Bx’))
-\ncap \cdot \frac{\BC(\Bx’)}{r}
} \\
&=
\frac{I}{4 \pi} \oint_{\partial V} dA’ \ncap \cdot \lr{
\frac{\rcap}{r^2} \cross \BM(\Bx’)
+ \frac{\BC(\Bx’)}{r}
} \\
&=
\frac{I}{4 \pi} \oint_{\partial V} dA’ \ncap \cdot \lr{
\lr{ \spacegrad’ \inv{r}} \cross \BM(\Bx’)
+ \frac{\BC(\Bx’)}{r}
} \\
&=
\frac{I}{4 \pi} \oint_{\partial V} dA’ \ncap \cdot \lr{
\spacegrad’ \cross \frac{\BM(\Bx’)}{r}
} \\
&=
\frac{I}{4 \pi} \oint_{\partial V} dA’
\spacegrad’ \cdot
\frac{\BM(\Bx’) \cross \ncap}{r}
&=
\frac{I}{4 \pi} \oint_{\partial V} dA’
\spacegrad’ \cdot
\frac{\BM(\Bx’) \cross \ncap}{r}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Final results.

Assembling things back into a single multivector equation, the complete inversion integral for \( \BM \) is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:emtProblemSet1Problem5AppendixGA:600}
\BM(\Bx)
=
\inv{4 \pi} \oint_{\partial V} dA’
\lr{
\spacegrad’ \wedge
\frac{\BM(\Bx’) \wedge \ncap}{r}
-\frac{\gpgradeone{ \rcap \ncap \BM(\Bx’) }}{r^2}
}
+
\inv{4 \pi} \int_V dV’ \lr{
\frac{\rcap}{r^2} s(\Bx’) –
\frac{\rcap}{r^2} \cross \BC(\Bx’) }.
\end{equation}

This shows that vector \( \BM \) can be recovered uniquely from \( s, \BC \) when \( \Abs{\BM}/r^2 \) vanishes on an infinite surface. If we restrict attention to a finite surface, we have to add to the fixed solution a specific solution that depends on the value of \( \BM \) on that surface. The vector portion of that surface integrand contains

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:emtProblemSet1Problem5AppendixGA:640}
\begin{aligned}
\gpgradeone{ \rcap \ncap \BM }
&=
\rcap (\ncap \cdot \BM )
+
\rcap \cdot (\ncap \wedge \BM ) \\
&=
\rcap (\ncap \cdot \BM )
+
(\rcap \cdot \ncap) \BM

(\rcap \cdot \BM ) \ncap.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

The constraints required by a zero triple product \( \spacegrad’ \cdot (\BM(\Bx’) \cross \ncap(\Bx’)) \) are complicated on a such a general finite surface. Consider instead, for simplicity, the case of a spherical surface, which can be analyzed more easily. In that case the outward normal of the surface centred on the test charge point \( \Bx \) is \( \ncap = -\rcap \). The pseudoscalar integrand is not generally killed unless the divergence of its tangential component on this surface is zero. One way that this can occur is for \( \BM \cross \ncap = 0 \), so that \( -\gpgradeone{ \rcap \ncap \BM } = \BM = (\BM \cdot \ncap) \ncap = \BM_{\textrm{n}} \).

This gives

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:emtProblemSet1Problem5AppendixGA:620}
\BM(\Bx)
=
\inv{4 \pi} \oint_{\Abs{\Bx – \Bx’} = r} dA’ \frac{\BM_{\textrm{n}}(\Bx’)}{r^2}
+
\inv{4 \pi} \int_V dV’ \lr{
\frac{\rcap}{r^2} s(\Bx’) +
\BC(\Bx’) \cross \frac{\rcap}{r^2} },
\end{equation}

or, in terms of potential functions, which is arguably tidier

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:emtProblemSet1Problem5AppendixGA:300}
\boxed{
\BM(\Bx)
=
\inv{4 \pi} \oint_{\Abs{\Bx – \Bx’} = r} dA’ \frac{\BM_{\textrm{n}}(\Bx’)}{r^2}
-\spacegrad \int_V dV’ \frac{ s(\Bx’)}{ 4 \pi r }
+\spacegrad \cross \int_V dV’ \frac{ \BC(\Bx’) }{ 4 \pi r }.
}
\end{equation}

Commentary

I attempted this problem in three different ways. My first approach (above) assembled the divergence and curl relations above into a single (Geometric Algebra) multivector gradient equation and applied the vector valued Green’s function for the gradient to invert that equation. That approach logically led from the differential equation for \( \BM \) to the solution for \( \BM \) in terms of \( s \) and \( \BC \). However, this strategy introduced some complexities that make me doubt the correctness of the associated boundary analysis.

Even if the details of the boundary handling in my multivector approach is not correct, I thought that approach was interesting enough to share.

References

[1] C. Doran and A.N. Lasenby. Geometric algebra for physicists. Cambridge University Press New York, Cambridge, UK, 1st edition, 2003.

Geometric Algebra in a nutshell.

September 29, 2016 math and physics play No comments , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

[Click here for a PDF of this post with nicer formatting]

Motivation

I initially thought that I might submit a problem set solution for ece1228 using Geometric Algebra. In order to justify this, I needed to add an appendix to that problem set that outlined enough of the ideas that such a solution might make sense to the grader.

I ended up changing my mind and reworked the problem entirely, removing any use of GA. Here’s the tutorial I initially considered submitting with that problem.

Geometric Algebra in a nutshell.

Geometric Algebra defines a non-commutative, associative vector product

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:gaTutorial:20}
\begin{aligned}
\Ba \Bb \Bc
&=
(\Ba \Bb) \Bc \\
&=
\Ba (\Bb \Bc),
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

where the square of a vector equals the squared vector magnitude

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:gaTutorial:40}
\Ba^2 = \Abs{\Ba}^2,
\end{equation}

In Euclidean spaces such a squared vector is always positive, but that is not necessarily the case in the mixed signature spaces used in special relativity.

There are a number of consequences of these two simple vector multiplication rules.

  • Squared unit vectors have a unit magnitude (up to a sign). In a Euclidean space such a product is always positive

    \begin{equation}\label{eqn:gaTutorial:60}
    (\Be_1)^2 = 1.
    \end{equation}

  • Products of perpendicular vectors anticommute.

    \begin{equation}\label{eqn:gaTutorial:80}
    \begin{aligned}
    2
    &=
    (\Be_1 + \Be_2)^2 \\
    &= (\Be_1 + \Be_2)(\Be_1 + \Be_2) \\
    &= \Be_1^2 + \Be_2 \Be_1 + \Be_1 \Be_2 + \Be_2^2 \\
    &= 2 + \Be_2 \Be_1 + \Be_1 \Be_2.
    \end{aligned}
    \end{equation}

    A product of two perpendicular vectors is called a bivector, and can be used to represent an oriented plane. The last line above shows an example of a scalar and bivector sum, called a multivector. In general Geometric Algebra allows sums of scalars, vectors, bivectors, and higher degree analogues (grades) be summed.

    Comparison of the RHS and LHS of \ref{eqn:gaTutorial:80} shows that we must have

    \begin{equation}\label{eqn:gaTutorial:100}
    \Be_2 \Be_1 = -\Be_1 \Be_2.
    \end{equation}

    It is true in general that the product of two perpendicular vectors anticommutes. When, as above, such a product is a product of
    two orthonormal vectors, it behaves like a non-commutative imaginary quantity, as it has an imaginary square in Euclidean spaces

    \begin{equation}\label{eqn:gaTutorial:120}
    \begin{aligned}
    (\Be_1 \Be_2)^2
    &=
    (\Be_1 \Be_2)
    (\Be_1 \Be_2) \\
    &=
    \Be_1 (\Be_2
    \Be_1) \Be_2 \\
    &=
    -\Be_1 (\Be_1
    \Be_2) \Be_2 \\
    &=
    -(\Be_1 \Be_1)
    (\Be_2 \Be_2) \\
    &=-1.
    \end{aligned}
    \end{equation}

    Such “imaginary” (unit bivectors) have important applications describing rotations in Euclidean spaces, and boosts in Minkowski spaces.

  • The product of three perpendicular vectors, such as

    \begin{equation}\label{eqn:gaTutorial:140}
    I = \Be_1 \Be_2 \Be_3,
    \end{equation}

    is called a trivector. In \R{3}, the product of three orthonormal vectors is called a pseudoscalar for the space, and can represent an oriented volume element. The quantity \( I \) above is the typical orientation picked for the \R{3} unit pseudoscalar. This quantity also has characteristics of an imaginary number

    \begin{equation}\label{eqn:gaTutorial:160}
    \begin{aligned}
    I^2
    &=
    (\Be_1 \Be_2 \Be_3)
    (\Be_1 \Be_2 \Be_3) \\
    &=
    \Be_1 \Be_2 (\Be_3
    \Be_1) \Be_2 \Be_3 \\
    &=
    -\Be_1 \Be_2 \Be_1
    \Be_3 \Be_2 \Be_3 \\
    &=
    -\Be_1 (\Be_2 \Be_1)
    (\Be_3 \Be_2) \Be_3 \\
    &=
    -\Be_1 (\Be_1 \Be_2)
    (\Be_2 \Be_3) \Be_3 \\
    &=

    \Be_1^2
    \Be_2^2
    \Be_3^2 \\
    &=
    -1.
    \end{aligned}
    \end{equation}

  • The product of two vectors in \R{3} can be expressed as the sum of a symmetric scalar product and antisymmetric bivector product

    \begin{equation}\label{eqn:gaTutorial:480}
    \begin{aligned}
    \Ba \Bb
    &=
    \sum_{i,j = 1}^n \Be_i \Be_j a_i b_j \\
    &=
    \sum_{i = 1}^n \Be_i^2 a_i b_i
    +
    \sum_{0 < i \ne j \le n} \Be_i \Be_j a_i b_j \\ &= \sum_{i = 1}^n a_i b_i + \sum_{0 < i < j \le n} \Be_i \Be_j (a_i b_j - a_j b_i). \end{aligned} \end{equation} The first (symmetric) term is clearly the dot product. The antisymmetric term is designated the wedge product. In general these are written \begin{equation}\label{eqn:gaTutorial:500} \Ba \Bb = \Ba \cdot \Bb + \Ba \wedge \Bb, \end{equation} where \begin{equation}\label{eqn:gaTutorial:520} \begin{aligned} \Ba \cdot \Bb &\equiv \inv{2} \lr{ \Ba \Bb + \Bb \Ba } \\ \Ba \wedge \Bb &\equiv \inv{2} \lr{ \Ba \Bb - \Bb \Ba }, \end{aligned} \end{equation} The coordinate expansion of both can be seen above, but in \R{3} the wedge can also be written \begin{equation}\label{eqn:gaTutorial:540} \Ba \wedge \Bb = \Be_1 \Be_2 \Be_3 (\Ba \cross \Bb) = I (\Ba \cross \Bb). \end{equation} This allows for an handy dot plus cross product expansion of the vector product \begin{equation}\label{eqn:gaTutorial:180} \Ba \Bb = \Ba \cdot \Bb + I (\Ba \cross \Bb). \end{equation} This result should be familiar to the student of quantum spin states where one writes \begin{equation}\label{eqn:gaTutorial:200} (\Bsigma \cdot \Ba) (\Bsigma \cdot \Bb) = (\Ba \cdot \Bb) + i (\Ba \cross \Bb) \cdot \Bsigma. \end{equation} This correspondence is because the Pauli spin basis is a specific matrix representation of a Geometric Algebra, satisfying the same commutator and anticommutator relationships. A number of other algebra structures, such as complex numbers, and quaterions can also be modelled as Geometric Algebra elements.

  • It is often useful to utilize the grade selection operator
    \( \gpgrade{M}{n} \) and scalar grade selection operator \( \gpgradezero{M} = \gpgrade{M}{0} \)
    to select the scalar, vector, bivector, trivector, or higher grade algebraic elements. For example, operating on vectors \( \Ba, \Bb, \Bc \), we have

    \begin{equation}\label{eqn:gaTutorial:580}
    \begin{aligned}
    \gpgradezero{ \Ba \Bb }
    &= \Ba \cdot \Bb \\
    \gpgradeone{ \Ba \Bb \Bc }
    &=
    \Ba (\Bb \cdot \Bc)
    +
    \Ba \cdot (\Bb \wedge \Bc) \\
    &=
    \Ba (\Bb \cdot \Bc)
    +
    (\Ba \cdot \Bb) \Bc

    (\Ba \cdot \Bc) \Bb \\
    \gpgradetwo{\Ba \Bb} &=
    \Ba \wedge \Bb \\
    \gpgradethree{\Ba \Bb \Bc} &=
    \Ba \wedge \Bb \wedge \Bc.
    \end{aligned}
    \end{equation}

    Note that the wedge product of any number of vectors such as \( \Ba \wedge \Bb \wedge \Bc \) is associative and can be expressed in terms of the complete antisymmetrization of the product of those vectors. A consequence of that is the fact a wedge product that includes any colinear vectors in the product is zero.

Example: Helmholz equations.

As an example of the power of \ref{eqn:gaTutorial:180}, consider the following Helmholtz equation derivation (wave equations for the electric and magnetic fields in the frequency domain.)

Application of \ref{eqn:gaTutorial:180} to
Maxwell equations in the frequency domain for source free simple media gives

\label{eqn:emtProblemSet1Problem6:340}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:emtProblemSet1Problem6:360}
\spacegrad \BE = -j \omega I \BB
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:emtProblemSet1Problem6:380}
\spacegrad I \BB = -j \omega \mu \epsilon \BE.
\end{equation}

These equations use the engineering (not physics) sign convention for the phasors where the time domain fields are of the form \( \boldsymbol{\mathcal{E}}(\Br, t) = \textrm{Re}( \BE e^{j\omega t} \).

Operation with the gradient from the left produces the Helmholtz equation for each of the fields using nothing more than multiplication and simple substitution

\label{eqn:emtProblemSet1Problem6:400}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:emtProblemSet1Problem6:420}
\spacegrad^2 \BE = – \mu \epsilon \omega^2 \BE
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:emtProblemSet1Problem6:440}
\spacegrad^2 I \BB = – \mu \epsilon \omega^2 I \BB.
\end{equation}

There was no reason to go through the headache of looking up or deriving the expansion of \( \spacegrad \cross (\spacegrad \cross \BA ) \) as is required with the traditional vector algebra demonstration of these identities.

Observe that the usual Helmholtz equation for \( \BB \) doesn’t have a pseudoscalar factor. That result can be obtained by just cancelling the factors \( I \) since the \R{3} Euclidean pseudoscalar commutes with all grades (this isn’t the case in \R{2} nor in Minkowski spaces.)

Example: Factoring the Laplacian.

There are various ways to demonstrate the identity

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:gaTutorial:660}
\spacegrad \cross \lr{ \spacegrad \cross \BA } = \spacegrad \lr{ \spacegrad \cdot \BA } – \spacegrad^2 \BA,
\end{equation}

such as the use of (somewhat obscure) tensor contraction techniques. We can also do this with Geometric Algebra (using a different set of obscure techniques) by factoring the Laplacian action on a vector

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:gaTutorial:700}
\begin{aligned}
\spacegrad^2 \BA
&=
\spacegrad (\spacegrad \BA) \\
&=
\spacegrad (\spacegrad \cdot \BA + \spacegrad \wedge \BA) \\
&=
\spacegrad (\spacegrad \cdot \BA)
+
\spacegrad \cdot (\spacegrad \wedge \BA) \\
%+
%\cancel{\spacegrad \wedge \spacegrad \wedge \BA}
&=
\spacegrad (\spacegrad \cdot \BA)
+
\spacegrad \cdot (\spacegrad \wedge \BA).
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Should we wish to express the last term using cross products, a grade one selection operation can be used
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:gaTutorial:680}
\begin{aligned}
\spacegrad \cdot (\spacegrad \wedge \BA)
&=
\gpgradeone{ \spacegrad (\spacegrad \wedge \BA) } \\
&=
\gpgradeone{ \spacegrad I (\spacegrad \cross \BA) } \\
&=
\gpgradeone{ I \spacegrad \wedge (\spacegrad \cross \BA) } \\
&=
\gpgradeone{ I^2 \spacegrad \cross (\spacegrad \cross \BA) } \\
&=
-\spacegrad \cross (\spacegrad \cross \BA).
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Here coordinate expansion was not required in any step.

Learning more.

Some references that may be helpful to learn more about Geometric Algebra are [2], [1], [4], and [3].

References

[1] C. Doran and A.N. Lasenby. Geometric algebra for physicists. Cambridge University Press New York, Cambridge, UK, 1st edition, 2003.

[2] L. Dorst, D. Fontijne, and S. Mann. Geometric Algebra for Computer Science. Morgan Kaufmann, San Francisco, 2007.

[3] D. Hestenes. New Foundations for Classical Mechanics. Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1999.

[4] A. Macdonald. Vector and Geometric Calculus. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012.