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The gravitational field of a laser beam beyond the short wavelength approximation

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posted on 2023-11-30, 05:36 authored by Fabienne Schneiter, Dennis Rätzel, Daniel Braun
Light carries energy, and therefore, it is the source of a gravitational field. The gravitational field of a beam of light in the short wavelength approximation has been studied by several authors. In this article, we consider light of finite wavelengths by describing a laser beam as a solution of Maxwell's equations and taking diffraction into account. Then, novel features of the gravitational field of a laser beam become apparent, such as frame-dragging due to its spin angular momentum and the deflection of parallel co-propagating test beams that overlap with the source beam. Even though the effects are too small to be detected with current technology, they are of conceptual interest, revealing the gravitational properties of light.

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