Electrostatics of quadrupolarizable media

13 Nov 2017

The classical macroscopic Maxwell equations are approximated. They are a corollary of the multipole expansion of the local electrostatic potential up to dipolar terms. But quadrupolarization of the medium should not be neglected if the molecules which build up the medium possess large quadrupole moment or do not have any dipole moment. If we include the quadrupolar terms in Maxwell equations we obtain the quadrupolar analogue of Poisson's equation: $\nabla^2 \phi - L^2_Q\nabla^4 \phi = - \rho / \varepsilon$. This equation is of the fourth order and it requires not only the two classical boundary conditions but also two additional ones: continuous electric field and the relation of the jump of the normal quadrupolarizability at the surface to the intrinsic normal surface dipole moment. The account of the quadrupole moment of the molecules leads to significant differences compared to the classical electrostatic theory.