# EM-wave equation in matter from Lagrangian

Setup Let's suppose a homogeneous dielectric with a (spatially) local dielectric response function $$\underline{\underline{\epsilon}} (\omega)$$ (in general a tensor), such that we have the linear response relation $$\mathbf{D}(\mathbf{x}, \omega) = \underline{\underline{\epsilon}} \left(\omega \right) \mathbf{E}(\mathbf{x}, \omega) \, .$$ We can now write down a Lagrangian in Fourier space, describing the EM-field coupling to the dielectric body $$\mathcal{L}=\frac{1}{2}\left[\mathbf{E}^{*}\left(x,\omega\right) \cdot (\underline{\underline{\epsilon}} \left(\omega \right)-1) \mathbf{E}\left(x,\omega\right)+|\mathbf{E}|^{2}\left(x,\omega\right)-|\mathbf{B}|^{2}\left(x,\omega\right) \right] \, .$$ If we choose a gauge \begin{align} \mathbf{E} &= \frac{i \omega}{c} \mathbf{A} \\ \mathbf{B} &= \nabla \times \mathbf{A} \, , \end{align} such that we can write the Lagrangian (suppressing arguments) in terms of the vector Potential $$\mathbf{A}$$ as $$\mathcal{L} (\mathbf{A}) =\frac{1}{2}\left[\frac{\omega^2}{c^2} \mathbf{A}^{*} \cdot (\underline{\underline{\epsilon}}- \mathbb{1}) \mathbf{A}+ \frac{\omega^2}{c^2} |\mathbf{A}|^{2}-|\nabla \times \mathbf{A}|^{2}\right] \, .$$ And consequently we have the action $$S[\mathbf{A}] = \int d \mathbf{x} \int \frac{d \omega}{2 \pi} \; \mathcal{L} \left(\mathbf{A}\right) \, .$$

Goal My goal is to derive the EM-wave equation for the electric field in the dielectric media.

(Note: I don't want to use the Euler-Lagrange equation from here on. In the case of a local dielectric (as it is the case in this post), this seems totally possible, but I am aiming to use the derivation for a non-local and non-stationary body. Which makes the Lagrangian non-local and thus the Euler-Lagrange equation (for a local Lagrangian) inapplicable.)

Ok so let's continue! So my ansatz is the following: If we use Hamilton's principle, we want the first variation of the action to be zero \begin{align} 0 = \delta S[\mathbf{A}] &= \left.\frac{\mathrm{d}}{\mathrm{d} \varepsilon} S[\mathbf{A} + \varepsilon \mathbf{h}] \right|_{\varepsilon=0} \\ &= \left.\frac{\mathrm{d}}{\mathrm{d} \varepsilon} \int d \mathbf{x} \int \frac{d \omega}{2 \pi} \; \mathcal{L} (\mathbf{A} + \varepsilon \mathbf{h}) \right|_{\varepsilon=0} \\ &= \int d \mathbf{x} \int \frac{d \omega}{2 \pi} \; \frac{1}{2} \Bigg( \frac{\omega^2}{c^2} \mathbf{A}^* \cdot ({\underline{\underline{\epsilon}}}-\mathbb{1}) \mathbf{h} + \frac{\omega^2}{c^2} \mathbf{h}^* \cdot ({\underline{\underline{\epsilon}}}- \mathbb{1}) \mathbf{A} + \frac{\omega^2}{c^2} \mathbf{A}^* \cdot \mathbf{h} + \frac{\omega^2}{c^2} \mathbf{h}^* \cdot \mathbf{A} \\ &\quad \quad \quad \quad \quad \quad \quad \quad- (\nabla \times \mathbf{A}^* ) \cdot ( \nabla \times \mathbf{h}) - (\nabla \times \mathbf{h}^* ) \cdot ( \nabla \times \mathbf{A}) \Bigg) \\ &= \int d \mathbf{x} \int \frac{d \omega}{2 \pi} \; \frac{1}{2} \Bigg( \frac{\omega^2}{c^2} \left[ ({\underline{\underline{\epsilon}}}^{\dagger}-\mathbb{1}) \mathbf{A} \right]^* \cdot \mathbf{h} + \frac{\omega^2}{c^2} \left[({\underline{\underline{\epsilon}}}- \mathbb{1}) \mathbf{A} \right] \cdot \mathbf{h}^* + \frac{\omega^2}{c^2} \mathbf{A}^* \cdot \mathbf{h} + \frac{\omega^2}{c^2} \mathbf{A} \cdot \mathbf{h}^* \\ &\quad \quad \quad \quad \quad \quad \quad \quad- (\nabla \times \nabla \times \mathbf{A}^* ) \cdot \mathbf{h} - (\nabla \times \nabla \times \mathbf{A} ) \cdot \mathbf{h}^* \Bigg) \\ &= \int d \mathbf{x} \int \frac{d \omega}{2 \pi} \; \frac{1}{2} \Bigg( \underbrace{\left[ \frac{\omega^2}{c^2} \left[ ({\underline{\underline{\epsilon}}}^{\dagger}-\mathbb{1}) \mathbf{A} \right]^* + \frac{\omega^2}{c^2} \mathbf{A}^* - \nabla \times \nabla \times \mathbf{A}^* \right]}_{\stackrel{!}{=} 0} \cdot \mathbf{h} \\ & \quad \quad \quad \quad \quad \quad \quad \quad \quad \quad + \underbrace{\left[ \frac{\omega^2}{c^2} \left[({\underline{\underline{\epsilon}}}- \mathbb{1}) \mathbf{A} \right] + \frac{\omega^2}{c^2} \mathbf{A} - \nabla \times \nabla \times \mathbf{A} \right]}_{\stackrel{!}{=} 0} \cdot \mathbf{h}^* \Bigg) \, , \end{align} for all $$\mathbf{h}(\mathbf{x}, \omega)$$. And consequently we get the equations \begin{align} \frac{\omega^2}{c^2} \left[ ({\underline{\underline{\epsilon}}}^{\dagger}-\mathbb{1}) \mathbf{A} \right]^* + \frac{\omega^2}{c^2} \mathbf{A}^* - \nabla \times \nabla \times \mathbf{A}^* &= 0 \\ \frac{\omega^2}{c^2} \left[({\underline{\underline{\epsilon}}}- \mathbb{1}) \mathbf{A} \right] + \frac{\omega^2}{c^2} \mathbf{A} - \nabla \times \nabla \times \mathbf{A} &= 0 \, . \end{align} If we suppose a lossy dielectric body, such that $$\underline{\underline{\epsilon}}^{\dagger} \neq \underline{\underline{\epsilon}}$$, the equations are in contradiction.

Question What went wrong in the calculation?

• Is it ok to write in the Lagrangian $A(\epsilon-1)A^*$ if $\epsilon$ is not real? Sep 12, 2021 at 16:30
• Crossposted from physics.stackexchange.com/q/665556/2451 Sep 16, 2021 at 18:43