Are Maxwell knots integrable?
Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics, 117218, Moscow, Russia
2 Institute for Information Transmission Problems, 127994, Moscow, Russia
3 Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, 141701, Dolgoprudny, Russia
Accepted: 9 December 2020
Published online: 22 December 2020
We review properties of the null-field solutions of source-free Maxwell equations. We focus on the electric and magnetic field lines, especially on limit cycles, which actually can be knotted and/or linked at every given moment. We analyse the fact that the Poynting vector induces self-consistent time evolution of these lines and demonstrate that the Abelian link invariant is integral of motion. We also consider particular examples of the field lines for the particular family of finite energy source-free “knot” solutions, attempting to understand when the field lines are closed – and can be discussed in terms of knots and links. Based on computer simulations we conjecture that Ranada’s solution, where every pair of lines forms a Hopf link, is rather exceptional. In general, only particular lines (a set of measure zero) are limit cycles and represent closed lines forming knots/links, while all the rest are twisting around them and remain unclosed. Still, conservation laws of Poynting evolution and associated integrable structure should persist.
© The Author(s) 2020
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