An exact theory describing the electromagnetic plane-wave force density on a scattering slab having various constitutive parameters and embedded in a background material with complex impedance is presented. It is shown that the constitutive parameters of the background medium contribute to the force density only through the impedance and not the refractive index. Asymptotic expressions show that the total force per unit area for sufficiently thick slabs having overall loss or gain remains positive, irrespective of the refractive index sign in the slab. However, example material responses indicate that for thin slabs the total force per unit area can be negative for both positive and negative refractive index slabs with gain.
© 2012 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: July 12, 2012
Revised Manuscript: September 5, 2012
Manuscript Accepted: September 17, 2012
Published: November 16, 2012
Shivanand and Kevin J. Webb, "Electromagnetic plane-wave force on a slab having various constitutive parameters and embedded in a background material," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 29, 3330-3334 (2012)