On the nonlinear electromagnetic coupling between a coil and an oscillating magnet
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The electromagnetic induction of voltage across a coil due to the motion of a magnet is among the fundamental problems of physics, and it has a broad range of practical applications. While Maxwell's equations exactly describe this phenomenon, the physical complexity inherent in most realistic situations often prevents the generation of closed-form expressions for the electromagnetic coupling. This paper uses basic principles to develop an approximate analytical expression for the induced voltage in terms of a set of physical parameters, and experimental results demonstrate a high level of validity in the model over the parameter values tested. For oscillatory magnet motion about a point on a coil's axis, it is shown that the induced voltage is an infinite sum of harmonics at integer multiples of the oscillation frequency; the relative amplitudes of these harmonics vary as the magnet's equilibrium position migrates along the coil's axis, causing the odd and even harmonics to vanish, reappear and reach peak values at predictable locations. Several simplifications to the model are considered, and their validity is investigated analytically over a range of parameters. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.