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It is shown that the interaction between macroscopic, nondissipative media, and time-varying electromagnetic fields can be described by a time-averaged potential function. From this function it is possible to derive phenomenologically the tensors that describe any of the usual electroand magneto-optic effects for electric and magnetic fields of any frequency. In addition, these same potential functions describe the various optical nonlinearities like harmonic generation in KDP, and harmonicdoi:10.21236/ad0295763 fatcat:32jugcvg4vci7iqit2qcrfx33e