OSA's Digital Library

Journal of the Optical Society of America A

Journal of the Optical Society of America A


  • Editor: Franco Gori
  • Vol. 27, Iss. 9 — Sep. 1, 2010
  • pp: 2055–2060

Total transmission of incident plane waves that satisfy the Brewster conditions at a free-space–chiral interface

Ezekiel Bahar  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA A, Vol. 27, Issue 9, pp. 2055-2060 (2010)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (167 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



The common definition of the Brewster angles for dielectric and magnetic achiral materials are the angles at which the vertically and horizontally polarized reflection coefficients vanish. We examine broader definitions of the Brewster conditions for waves that are incident on a free-space–chiral interface. Besides the common definition, the Brewster angles have been defined as the angles at which the polarizations of the reflected waves are independent of the polarizations of the incident waves. We consider total transmission of incident plane waves that satisfy the Brewster conditions at a free-space–chiral medium planar interface. In this case we determine the polarization of the incident wave for which the reflected vertically and horizontally polarized waves vanish simultaneously. Thus with this definition of the Brewster conditions the polarization of the reflected wave is undefined. The conditions for the excitation of surface waves are considered. The characteristic polarizations that are the same for the reflected and incident waves are also examined subject to the Brewster conditions. Potential applications of this analysis are to experimentally determine the chiral or geotropic measure of the medium and to identify and characterize biological and chemical materials through their optical activity in real time. Several independent measurements can be taken with the same polarimetric instrument to avoid false identifications. Since measurements can be conducted in the reflection mode they can be nonintrusive.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(040.1880) Detectors : Detection
(050.1930) Diffraction and gratings : Dichroism
(240.0240) Optics at surfaces : Optics at surfaces
(160.1435) Materials : Biomaterials
(160.1585) Materials : Chiral media
(240.2130) Optics at surfaces : Ellipsometry and polarimetry

ToC Category:
Optics at Surfaces

Original Manuscript: March 29, 2010
Manuscript Accepted: July 27, 2010
Published: August 18, 2010

Ezekiel Bahar, "Total transmission of incident plane waves that satisfy the Brewster conditions at a free-space–chiral interface," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 27, 2055-2060 (2010)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. A. Lakhtakia, “Would Brewster recognize today’s Brewster angle?” Optics News 15, 14–18 (1989). [CrossRef]
  2. A. Lakhtakia and J. R. Diamond, “Reciprocity and the concept of the Brewster wavenumber,” Int. J. Infrared Millim. Waves 12, 1167–1174 (1991). [CrossRef]
  3. M. Born and E. Wolf, Principles of Optics (Pergamon, 1980).
  4. C. Johnk, Engineering Electromagnetic Fields and Waves, 2nd ed. (Wiley, 1988).
  5. J. Lekner, Theory of Reflection (Nijhoff/Kluwer, 1987).
  6. E. Bahar, “Mueller matrices for waves reflected and transmitted through chiral materials: waveguide modal solutions and applications,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 24, 1610–1619 (2007). [CrossRef]
  7. M. Silverman, “Reflection and refraction at the surface of a chiral medium: comparison of gyrotropic constitutive relations invariant or noninvariant under a duality transformation,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 3, 830–837 (1986). [CrossRef]
  8. S. Bassiri, C. H. Papas, and N. Engheta, “Electromagnetic wave propagation through a dielectric–chiral interface and through a chiral slab,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 5, 1450–1459 (1988). [CrossRef]
  9. I. Lindell, A. Sihvola, S. Tretyakov, and A. Viitanen, Electromagnetic Waves in Chiral and Bi-isotropic Media (Artech House, 1994).
  10. J. Lekner, “Brewster angles in reflection by uniaxial crystals,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 10, 2059–2064 (1993). [CrossRef]
  11. J. Lekner, “Optical properties of nonisotropic chiral media,” Pure Appl. Opt. 5, 417–443 (1996). [CrossRef]
  12. J. Stratton, Electromagnetic Theory (McGraw-Hill, 1941).
  13. J. Kong, Theory of Electromagnetic Waves (Wiley, 1975).
  14. A. Gevorgyan, “Diffraction enhancement and suppression of plane of polarization in chiral photonic crystals,” Tech. Phys. 52, 75–82 (2007). [CrossRef]
  15. R. Azzam and N. Bashara, Ellipsometry and Polarized Light (Elsevier, 1977).
  16. M. Potter, Mathematical Methods in Physical Sciences (Prentice Hall, 1978).
  17. M. Silverman, Waves and Grains (Princeton Univ. Press, 1998).
  18. E. Bahar “Reflection and transmission matrices at a free-space–chiral interface based on the invariant constitutive relations for gyrotropic media and the Drude–Born–Federov constitutive relations,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 26, 1834–1838 (2009). [CrossRef]
  19. M. Silverman, N. Ritchie, G. Cushman, and B. Fished, “Experimental configurations using optical phase modulation to measure chiral asymmetries in light specularly reflected from a naturally gyrotropic medium,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 5, 1852–1862 (1988). [CrossRef]
  20. E. Bahar, “Optimum electromagnetic wave excitations of complex media characterized by positive or negative refractive indices and by chiral properties,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 24, 2807–2813 (2007). [CrossRef]
  21. E. Bahar, “Characterization of natural and artificial optical activity by the Mueller matrix for oblique incidence, total internal reflection, and Brewster angle,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 25, 1294–1302 (2008). [CrossRef]
  22. E. Bahar, “Roadmaps for the use of Mueller matrix measurements to detect and identify biological and chemical materials through their optical activity: potential applications in biomedicine, biochemistry, security, and industry,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 26, 364–470 (2009). [CrossRef]

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.


Fig. 1

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited