Aharonov-Bohm Effect: The Principle Behind the Interaction of Electrons with Electromagnetic Fields

  • Akira Tonomura
Part of the Springer Series in Optical Sciences book series (SSOS, volume 70)


In 1959, Aharonov and Bohm presented a paper entitled “Significance of electromagnetic potentials in quantum theory” [6.1]. Its content can roughly be summarized as follows: In classical electrodynamics, potentials are merely a convenient mathematical tool for calculations concerning electromagnetic fields. The fundamental equations can always be formulated using these fields. However, in quantum mechanics, potentials cannot be eliminated from the Schrödinger equation and consequently seem to have physical significance. Aharonov and Bohm went beyond this conjecture and proposed actual electron-interference experiments. These experiments were intended to clarify how potentials affect electrons passing through field-free regions. The phenomenon these researchers described came to be called the Aharonov-Bohm (AB) effect in their honor.


Magnetic Flux Vector Potential Gauge Field Parallel Transport Electron Trajectory 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Akira Tonomura
    • 1
  1. 1.Advanced Research LaboratoryHitachi, Ltd.SaitamaJapan

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