The Physical Entity of Vector Potential in Electromagnetism

Vladimir Alexandr Leus, Ray T. Smith, Simon Maher


The scalar and vector potentials were introduced into electromagnetic physics in the second half of the nineteenth century. The chief aim was to use them as auxiliary mathematical quantities in order to solve certain practical problems.Nevertheless the discovery of the Aharonov-Bohm effect (1959) in quantum mechanics has suggested that vector potential rather than magnetic field is the causal agent in such an effect. Recent research on the Maxwell-Lodge paradox--induction of voltage in the loop circling a long solenoid carrying alternating current--has confirmed that induction occurs in a region of space effectively free from magnetic field. This again reinforces the idea of vector potential as a physical entity rather than the auxiliary artificial quantity of classical electrodynamics. The present investigation is intended to provide some degree of corroboration of the previous result.The experimental arrangement consists of a ‘special’ transformer containing movable, single turn coils wound onto rectangular frames. The primary coil is powered from a signal generator providing alternating current over a variable frequency range while the secondary output voltage is connected across a C.R.O./precision voltmeter. Measurements of transformer e.m.f. were carried out at several frequencies in the range 100 Hz–20 kHz and with various conditions of shielding around the primary and secondary coils.Certain additional experiments were carried out with a long solenoid and torus solenoid supplied with different core materials. Experimental results for induced e.m.f’s are presented and in special cases correlated with the calculated values of mutual inductance. Overall the results tend to confirm the primacy of vector potential over magnetic field as an explanation of the phenomenon.

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Applied Physics Research   ISSN 1916-9639 (Print)   ISSN 1916-9647 (Online)

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