It is shown that the boundary conditions at left-handed material interfaces cause reversal in the propagation direction of the parallel-to-the-surface electromagnetic energy and momentum fluxes. First-principle examination excludes the possibility of induced surface wave excitation as a way of providing radiation momentum conservation. Thus the imparted net change in electromagnetic momentum should cause a recoil force parallel to the surface, which is unique to left-handed interfaces. The shear force exerted on a left-handed material interface is computed. The magnitude of this force is found detectable by experiments.
© 2006 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: March 30, 2006
Revised Manuscript: April 25, 2006
Manuscript Accepted: May 19, 2006
Published: July 25, 2006
Spilios Riyopoulos, "Conservation of electromagnetic momentum and radiation forces exerted on left-handed material interfaces," Opt. Lett. 31, 2480-2482 (2006)