ExB drift for an arbitrary electric potential


As described in the previous blog post charged particle moving in crossed constant magnetic and electric fields exhibits a drift velocity, $(\boldsymbol{E}\times\boldsymbol{B})/B^2$, perpendicular to both $\boldsymbol{E}$ and $\boldsymbol{B}$. The particle's trajectory in this situation can be found analytically. For an arbitrary $\boldsymbol{E}$, some kind of numerical integration of the equation of motion is usually necessary, but the force that the particle experiences at an instant is perpendicular to to the electric field and the particle therefore undergoes its gyromotion along an isocontour of electrostatic potential, $V$ (since $\boldsymbol{E} = -\nabla V$).

The Jupyter Notebook here illustrates this, and produces the animation below. It is also available on my github page.

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