Tuesday, 2 March 2010
A Critical Reexamination of the Electrostatic Aharonov-Bohm Effect
Allan Walstad, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, Department of Physics
12:05 pm, 817R Cathedral of Learning
Abstract: I reexamine the electrostatic version of the famous Aharonov-Bohm effect ("eAB"). Aharonov and Bohm's 1959 exposition is inadequate because it does not address the wavefunction of the entire system, including the source of electrostatic potential. Although the authors attempted, in a
1961 paper, to demonstrate that consideration of the entire system would not change their result, they inadvertently assumed the desired outcome in their analysis. Idealized experiments they described do not meet the conditions for quantum interference or do not constitute examples of eAB. (If there is time I will also demonstrate that an oft-cited experimental observation of eAB does not count as such since it clearly arises from electric forces.)
The experimentally well-established magnetic version of the Aharonov-Bohm effect was inferred by the authors from the (incorrect!) eAB theory via relativistic covariance of the four-potential. I'll tie up that loose end.