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Optics Letters

Optics Letters


  • Editor: Anthony J. Campillo
  • Vol. 32, Iss. 20 — Oct. 15, 2007
  • pp: 2939–2941

Resolving the wave vector and the refractive index from the coefficient of reflectance

V. U. Nazarov and Y.-C. Chang  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Letters, Vol. 32, Issue 20, pp. 2939-2941 (2007)

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We resolve the existing controversy concerning the selection of the sign of the normal-to-the-interface component of the wave vector k z of an electromagnetic wave in an active (gain) medium. Our method exploits the fact that no ambiguity exists in the case of a film of the active medium, since its coefficient of reflectance is invariant under the inversion of the sign of k z . Then we show that the limit of the infinite film thickness determines a unique and physically consistent choice of the wave vector and the refractive index. Important practical implications of the theory are identified and discussed.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(000.2690) General : General physics
(260.2110) Physical optics : Electromagnetic optics
(350.5500) Other areas of optics : Propagation

ToC Category:
Physical Optics

Original Manuscript: July 6, 2007
Revised Manuscript: August 21, 2007
Manuscript Accepted: September 3, 2007
Published: October 4, 2007

V. U. Nazarov and Y.-C. Chang, "Resolving the wave vector and the refractive index from the coefficient of reflectance," Opt. Lett. 32, 2939-2941 (2007)

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