Canonical quantization of macroscopic electromagnetism

Thomas Gerard Philbin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Citations (Scopus)


Application of the standard canonical quantization rules of quantum field theory to macroscopic electromagnetism has encountered obstacles due to material dispersion and absorption. This has led to a phenomenological approach to macroscopic quantum electrodynamics where no canonical formulation is attempted. In this paper macroscopic electromagnetism is canonically quantized. The results apply to any linear, inhomogeneous, magnetodielectric medium with dielectric functions that obey the Kramers–Kronig relations. The prescriptions of the phenomenological approach are derived from the canonical theory.
Original languageEnglish
Article number123008
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


  • Quantum field theory
  • Macroscopic electromagnetism
  • Macroscopic quantum electrodynamics


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