In view of interest in relativistic harmonic oscillations in media, through which the speed of light is orders of magnitude smaller than in vacuum, the solution of the equation of motion is analyzed in the extreme- and weak-relativistic limits. Using scaled variables, it is shown rigorously how the equation of motion exhibits the characteristics of a boundary-layer problem in the extreme-relativistic limit: The solution differs from a sharp asymptotic pattern only around the turning points of oscillations over a vanishingly small fraction of the period. The sharp asymptotic pattern of the solution is a saw-tooth composed of linear segments. The velocity profile tends to a periodic step function and the phase-space plot tends to a rectangle. An expansion of the solution in terms of a small parameter that measures the proximity to the limit (*v*/*c*) → 1 yields an excellent approximation for the solution throughout the whole period of oscillations. In the weak-relativistic limit the same approach yields an approximation to the solution that is significantly better than in traditional asymptotic expansion procedures.

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Posted 04 Jan, 2022

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Posted 04 Jan, 2022

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In view of interest in relativistic harmonic oscillations in media, through which the speed of light is orders of magnitude smaller than in vacuum, the solution of the equation of motion is analyzed in the extreme- and weak-relativistic limits. Using scaled variables, it is shown rigorously how the equation of motion exhibits the characteristics of a boundary-layer problem in the extreme-relativistic limit: The solution differs from a sharp asymptotic pattern only around the turning points of oscillations over a vanishingly small fraction of the period. The sharp asymptotic pattern of the solution is a saw-tooth composed of linear segments. The velocity profile tends to a periodic step function and the phase-space plot tends to a rectangle. An expansion of the solution in terms of a small parameter that measures the proximity to the limit (*v*/*c*) → 1 yields an excellent approximation for the solution throughout the whole period of oscillations. In the weak-relativistic limit the same approach yields an approximation to the solution that is significantly better than in traditional asymptotic expansion procedures.

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 4

Figure 5

Figure 6

Figure 7

Figure 8

Figure 9

Figure 10

Figure 11

Figure 12

Figure 13

Figure 14

Figure 15

The full text of this article is available to read as a PDF.

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