# Method of Images in Electrostatics

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The potential of a point charge in the neighborhood of a grounded conductor is given by a solution of Laplace's equation , subject to the boundary condition that on the surface of the conductor. This solution is unique in the region enclosed by the conductor. Adding charges outside that region, which reproduce the same boundary conditions, can alternatively lead to a valid solution to the original problem. Under certain favorable conditions, it is possible to apply the method of images, in which one or more image charges of specified magnitude can be strategically placed to enable the Laplace equation with the given boundary conditions to be more easily solved.

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Contributed by: S. M. Blinder (March 2011)

Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

## Snapshots

## Details

The snapshots show potential contours for a point charge.

Snapshot 1: near a grounded plane

Snapshot 2: inside a grounded sphere

Snapshot 3: outside a grounded sphere

Reference: J. D. Jackson, *Classical Electrodynamics*, 3rd ed., New York: Wiley, 1999 pp. 57ff.

## Permanent Citation