Abstract

The energy flow lines (field lines of the Poynting vector) for radiation emitted by a dipole are in general curves, rather than straight lines. For a linear dipole the field lines are straight, but when the dipole moment of a source rotates, the field lines wind numerous times around an axis, which is perpendicular to the plane of rotation, before asymptotically approaching a straight line. We consider an elliptical dipole moment, representing the most general state of oscillation, and this includes the linear dipole as a special case. Due to the spiraling near the source, for the case of a rotating dipole moment, the field lines in the far field are displaced with respect to the outward radial direction, and this leads to a shift of the intensity distribution of the radiation in the far field. This shift is shown to be independent of the distance to the source and, although of nanoscale dimension, should be experimentally observable.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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