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February 20, 2013

Jackson, 7.13 A stylized model of the ionosphere is a medium described by the dielectric constant (7.59).

Consider the earth with such a medium beginning suddenly at a height h and extending to innity.

For waves with polarization both perpendicular to the plane of incidence (from a horizontal antenna)

and in the plane of incidence (from a vertical antenna),

(a) show from Fresnels equations for reection and refraction that for >

p

there is a range of

angles of incidence for which reection is not total, but for larger angles there is total reection

back toward the earth.

The Fresnels equations for reection and refraction in the case of E perpendicular to the plane

of incidence according to (7.39):

E

0

E

0

=

2ncos i

ncos i

_

n

2

n

2

sin

2

i

(1)

E

0

E

0

=

ncos i

_

n

2

n

2

sin

2

i

ncos i

_

n

2

n

2

sin

2

i

(2)

and for E parallel to plane of incidence, according to (7.41):

E

0

E

0

=

2nn

cos i

n

2

cos i + n

_

n

2

n

2

sin

2

i

(3)

E

0

E

0

=

n

2

cos i n

_

n

2

n

2

sin

2

i

n

2

cos i + n

_

n

2

n

2

sin

2

i

(4)

In (2) and (4), it is clear that the reected wave must be 1, only if the real part of the square

root vanishes, therefore:

n

2

n

2

sin

2

i 0

sin

2

i

n

2

n

2

Finally, using the relation between frequencies (7.59), we nd:

sin

2

i

n

2

n

2

1

2

p

2

p

2

_

1 sin

2

i

_

gomez@physics.rutgers.edu

1

Then, we have partial reection if the incoming wave incide with an angle less than i and, in

consequence, a total reection if the angle is greater or equal than i.

(b) A radio amateur operating at a wavelength of 21 meters in the early evening nds that she

can receive distant stations located more than 1000 km away, but none closer. Assuming that

the signals are being reected from the F layer of the ionosphere at an eective height of 300

km, calculate the electron density. Compare with the known maximum and minimum F layer

densities of 2 10

12

m

3

in the daytime and (2 4) 10

11

m

3

at night.

From part a), we found that the critical angle is given by:

c

= sin

1

_

_

_

2

p

_

_

(5)

Then, considering the ionosphere and the earth as at surfaces, we can approximate that the

radio amateur can only receive distant stations when the wave is totally reected. For this, we

can construct a triangle of base d and height h, thus:

sin

c

=

d/2

_

h

2

+ (d/2)

2

=

d

4h

2

+ d

2

_

2

p

=

d

4h

2

+ d

2

2

p

=

2

_

1

d

2

4h

2

+ d

2

_

=

_

2c

_

2

4h

2

4h

2

+ d

2

Finally, the electron density is given by:

n

e

=

m

0

2

p

c

2

=

4

2

m

2

0

e

2

2

_

4h

2

4h

2

+ d

2

_

= 6.6 10

11

m

3

If we compare this value with the known maximum and minimum F layer densities in the

daytime and at night, we see that the calculated value is in the middle of this two. Presumably,

this value corresponds to a density in the evening.

Jackson, 7.15 The partially ionized interstellar medium (mostly hydrogen) responds to optical frequen-

cies as an electronic plasma in a weak magnetic eld. The broad-spectrum pulses from a pulsar allow

determination of some average properties of the interstellar medium (e.g., mean electron density and

mean magnetic eld). The treatment of an electronic plasma in a magnetic eld of Section 7.6 is

pertinent.

(a) Ignoring the weak magnetic eld and assuming that max(

p

) , show that c times the transit

time of a pulse of mean frequency from a pulsar a distance R away is

ct() R +

e

2

2

0

m

e

2

_

n

e

(z) dz (6)

2

where n

e

(z) is the electron density along the path of the light.

Let us calculate the group velocity of the pulse, using (7.89):

v

g

=

c

n() +

dn

d

(7)

Then, the index of refraction, assuming that in the interstellar medium =

0

, is:

n() =

_

0

=

_

0

(8)

Then, using the relation (7.67) for the dielectric constant and, ignoring the weak magnetic

eld, we found:

n() =

_

0

=

1

2

0

(

B

)

2

p

2

= 1

2

p

2

2

(9)

Using this result, let us compute:

dn

d

=

2

p

3

Plugging this relation and (9) in (7):

v

g

=

c

n() +

dn

d

c

1

2

p

2

2

+

2

p

3

=

c

1 +

2

p

2

2

Finally, using the denition of

p

and the relation for group velocity:

v

g

=

dz

dt

c

1 +

2

p

2

2

_

t

0

c dt

_

R

0

1 +

2

p

2

2

dz

ct()

_

R

0

1 +

n

e

(z)e

2

2

2

0

m

dz

ct() R +

_

0

R

n

e

(z)e

2

2

2

0

m

dz

ct() R +

e

2

2

2

0

m

_

R

0

n

e

(z) dz

(b) The presence of the magnetic eld causes a rotation of the plane of linear polarization (Faraday

eect). Show that to lowest order in the magnetic eld, the polarized light from the pulsar has

its polarization rotated through an angle ():

()

e

3

2

0

cm

2

e

2

_

n

e

(z)B

(z) dz (10)

where B

Let us consider a circular polarized waves:

E = E(

1

i

2

)e

ikzit

(11)

3

where

1

,

2

are the polarization vectors and the signs indicates the helicity of the wave.

Let us calculate now the index of refraction for the dierent polarization, using (7.67):

n

=

_

0

=

2

p

(

B

)

=

2

p

2

(1

B

)

1

2

p

2

2

(1

B

)

1

2

p

2

2

_

1

B

_

= 1

2

p

2

2

2

p

B

2

3

where we are just consider the rst order approximation. Plugging this result into (11), and

neglecting the time dependence, we found:

E = E [

1

exp (ik

+

(z) dz)

2

exp(ik

(z) dz)]

= E

_

1

exp

_

i

n

+

c

dz

_

2

exp

_

i

n

c

dz

__

= E

_

1

exp

_

i

c

_

1

2

p

2

2

2

p

B

2

3

_

dz

_

2

exp

_

i

c

_

1

2

p

2

2

+

2

p

B

2

3

_

dz

__

from where is easy to see that we will have a dierent in phase of

2

p

B

2

2

c

dz. Therefore,

()

_

2

p

B

2

2

c

dz

=

_

2

p

eB

(z)

2

2

cm

dz

=

_

n(z)e

3

B

(z)

2

0

2

cm

2

dz

=

e

3

2

0

2

cm

2

_

n(z)B

(z) dz

(c) Assuming you had an independent measure of the pulsar distance R, what observations would

you make in order to infer n

e

and B

are necessary?

To calculate the electron density we could maybe measure the spatial width of one pulse coming

from the pulsar. In addition, we can probably also measure the size of the wave packet of the

light that reaches us from the pulsar.

On the other hand, to measure the magnetic eld we could measure the changes in the polar-

ization of the incoming light emitted by the pulsar. For this measurement, if we assume that

the light emitted is linear polarized, we can contrast our results with the measure values to

make sure that this assumption is right.

4

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