The propagation of inhomogeneous and elliptically polarized plane waves in absorbing uniaxial anisotropic media is described using complex unitary vectors to represent the direction of propagation and the direction of polarization. Detailed expressions for electric displacement, electric field, and magnetic field vectors are obtained for the ordinary and extraordinary waves, and their geometry is discussed. According to the complex direction of propagation, three particular cases are studied: the real case (homogeneous wave), the case perpendicular to the optical axis, and the case coplanar with the optic axis. The case of isotropic media is also analyzed.
© 2007 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: June 29, 2006
Revised Manuscript: December 1, 2006
Manuscript Accepted: December 5, 2006
Published: May 9, 2007
J. M. Diñeiro, M. Berrogui, S. Alfonso, C. Alberdi, B. Hernández, and C. Sáenz, "Complex unitary vectors for the direction of propagation and for the polarization of electromagnetic waves in uniaxial and absorbing dielectric media," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 24, 1767-1775 (2007)