Dispersion of electromagnetic waves in linear, homogeneous, and isotropic media

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

An electromagnetic wave-packet propagating in a linear, homogeneous, and isotropic medium changes shape while its envelope travels with different velocities at different points in spacetime. In general, a wave-packet can be described as a superposition of plane-waves having different frequencies ω and different propagation vectors k. While the angular spread of the k-vectors gives rise to diffractive effects, it is the frequency-dependence of the refractive index of the host medium that is commonly associated with optical dispersion. When the spectral distribution of the wave-packet is confined to a narrow band of frequencies, and also when the spread of the k-vectors is not too broad, it is possible, under certain circumstances, to obtain analytical expressions for the local and/or global trajectory of the packet's envelope as it evolves in time. This paper is an attempt at a systematic description of the underlying physical assumptions and mathematical arguments leading to certain well-known properties of narrowband electromagnetic wave-packets in the presence of diffractive as well as (temporally) dispersive effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRoland V. Shack Memorial Session
Subtitle of host publicationA Celebration of One of the Great Teachers of Optical Aberration Theory
EditorsJohn P. Lehan
PublisherSPIE
ISBN (Electronic)9781510637641
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020
EventRoland V. Shack Memorial Session: A Celebration of One of the Great Teachers of Optical Aberration Theory 2020 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: Aug 24 2020Sep 4 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Volume11479
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X

Conference

ConferenceRoland V. Shack Memorial Session: A Celebration of One of the Great Teachers of Optical Aberration Theory 2020
CountryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online
Period8/24/209/4/20

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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