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Unformatted text preview: 1 PHYS809 Class 7 Notes The method of images The method of images is useful for finding the potential of a charge distribution in the presence of grounded conductors of simple geometry. The simplest case is when the surface of the conductor is an infinite plane. Since by definition the potential of a grounded conductor is zero (the same as the potential at infinity), the potential on the side of the conductor containing the charge is the same as for the original charge distribution plus a charge distribution of opposite sign symmetrically placed with respect to the location of the surface of the conductor but with the conductor removed. Note that the force on the charge q is directed towards the conductor. The work function of a metal is largely the work needed to remove an electron in the presence of its attractive image force. The method of images can also be used to find the potential due to a charge inside or outside a grounded spherical surface. For example, consider a point charge q , a distance d from the center of a sphere of radius a where d > a . Since there is azimuthal symmetry about the line through the charge and the center of the sphere, we look for a solution involving an image charge q placed a distance d from the center of the sphere on the symmetry axis. center of the sphere on the symmetry axis....
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 Fall '11
 MacDonald
 Charge

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