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D. K.

Cheng
Field and Wave Electromagnetics

Chapter 8
Plane Electromagnetic Waves
8-1 Introduction
The dAlembert equation (second order differential equation):
A free wave equation

A simple solution (Sine and cosine function sin(t-kx), cos(t-


kx)) can be immediately derived from the dAlembert equation.

Exact value c=299792458m/s


1983,
(198310211/299,792,458)
c

Time-harmonic plane wave: Sine and cosine function sin(t-kx), cos(t-


kx))
Uniform plane wave: the field with the same direction, same
magnitude, and same phase in infinite planes (perpendicular to the
direction of propagation)
Wavefront: the surface of constant phase

Note:
The uniform plane wave does not exist in practice. A very small
portion of the surface of a giant spherical wave can be identified
as a uniform plane wave.

The uniform plane wave is a free electromagnetic wave. A


spherical wave can also be a free electromagnetic wave because it
also fulfills the above dAlembert equation.
Fields and their units in electromagnetics
Unit in MKSA
Symbols Field Quantities Units
( )
E Electric field strength V/m mkgs-3A-1
Electric Electric flux density
D C / m2 m-2sA
(Electric displacement vector)
Magnetic flux density
B T kgs-2A-1
Magnetic (Magnetic induction strength)
H Magnetic field strength A/m m-1A
s Conductivity (electric conductivity) S/m m-3kg-1s3A2
Material
Properties
e Permittivity (electric permittivity) F/m m-3kg-1s4A2
m Permeability (magnetic permeability) H/m mkgs-2A-2

V: Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta, 17451827, Italy


C: Charles Augustin de Coulomb, 17361806, France
T: Nikola Tesla, 18561943, Croatia-USA
A: Andr-Marie Ampre, 17751836, France
S: Ernst Werner Siemens, 18161892, German
F: Michael Faraday, 17911867, UK
H: Joseph Henry, 17971878, USA
8-2 Plane Waves in Lossless Media

Helmholtzs equation The solution (phasor):

Free-space wavenumber
The first and the second terms
represent the forward (propagating
in the +z direction) and the backward
(propagating in the -z direction)
A simplest case: a uniform E travelling waves, respectively.
vector is perpendicular to z

Phasor: A quantity that contains


amplitude and phase information but
is independent of time t (D. K. Cheng,
p. 337) .
The real electric field of a travelling wave (propagating in the +z direction):

If we fix our attention on a particular point (with a constant phase) on the wave

Phase velocity (the velocity of propagation of an equiphase front):

Wavenumber in vacuum:

Wavenumber: the number of wavelengths in a complete cycle (D. K. Cheng,


p. 357)
A simple plane electromagnetic wave: E, H, k form a right-handed system.

Now you can see that E, H, k are in the x, y, z directions,


respectively. (D. K. Cheng, p. 357) E, H, k form a right-handed system.
Magnetic field and impedance

The intrinsic impedance


of the free vacuum

1 For a uniform plane wave, the ratio of


e0 109 the magnitudes of E and H is the
In SI units 36 intrinsic impedance of the medium.
m0 4 107 (D. K. Cheng, p. 358)
The relation between E and H for any plane waves in media
(D. K. Cheng, p. 363)
8-2.3 Polarization of Plane Waves
Linearly polarized light: Ex/Ey is fixed (i.e., independent of
spacetime coordinate).
If, for example, Ex=3cos(kz), Ey=5cos(kz), it is a linearly
polarized light, because Ex/Ey=3/5=constant.

If Ex=3cos(kz), Ey=5sin(kz), it is an elliptically polarized light,


because Ex and Ey agree with an elliptical equation.
Elliptically and circularly polarized light:
Right-hand or positive circularly
polarized light
Fig. 8-5(a) (D. K. Cheng, p. 365)

Left-hand or negative circularly


polarized light (D. K. Cheng, p. 366)

A linearly polarized plane wave can be rewritten as a sum


of a right-hand and a left-hand circularly polarized wave
of equal amplitude (D. K. Cheng, p. 366-367)

A linearly polarized plane wave is given by


8-3 Plane Waves in Lossy Media
Helmholtzs equation

Note: is the propagation constant (p. 367) and is the phase constant (p.
368).
8-3.1 Low-Loss Dielectrics ( )
Simplified under the condition of low-loss dielectrics (good but imperfect
insulators) (D. K. Cheng, p. 368)

Neper is a dimensionless quantity. If =1Np/m, the amplitude will decrease


to 1/e when the wave travels a 1-metre distance.
Note: is the propagation constant (p. 367) and is the phase constant (p.
368).
8-3.2 Good Conductors ( )
Simplified under the condition of good conductors
(D. K. Cheng, p. 369)
A high-frequency electromagnetic wave is attenuated very rapidly as it
propagates in a good Conductor. (D. K. Cheng, p. 370)

At microwave frequencies, the skin depth is 0.66m (at 10 GHz for


copper). Thus, the fields and the electric currents can be considered
as confined in a very thin layer of the conductor surface (Skin
Effect). (D. K. Cheng, p. 370)
8-3.3 Ionized Gases
Ionized gases with equal electron and ion densities are called plasmas.
Plasma oscillation: the permittivity is
zero when the frequency approaches
the plasma frequency, and D vanishes
(whereas E is nonzero). In this case, it
would be possible for an oscillating E to
exist in the absence of free charges.
(D. K. Cheng, p. 374)
The plasma frequency is also referred to as the cutoff frequency.
When f is smaller than the cutoff frequency, the propagation constant
is a real number, and the electromagnetic wave will decay in this
plasma.
When f is larger than the cutoff frequency, the propagation constant is
a purely imaginary number, and the electromagnetic wave will
propagate unattenuated in this plasma. (D. K. Cheng, p. 374)
8-4 Group Velocity
Dispersion: Dependence of the phase velocity and the refractive index on frequency
Phase velocity: the velocity of propagation of an equiphase wavefront.
Group velocity: the velocity of propagation of a wave-packet envelope (of a group of
frequencies) (D. K. Cheng, p. 376)
Three cases of dispersion (D. K. Cheng, p. 378)
8-5 Flow of Electromagnetic Power and the
Poynting Vector
Poyntings law is a law of energy conservation.
It should be emphasized that the law of energy
conservation has already been involved in
Maxwells equations.
The Poynting law is a law of energy conservation.
Eq. (8-81) is a differential form of the Poynting law, and Eq. (8-82) is an
integral form.
Poynting vector (energy flow density): The power per unit area
(power density)
8-6 Normal Incidence at a Plane Conducting Boundary
(A uniform plane wave is incident normally on a perfect conductor)

Perfect conductor
Lossless medium (conductivity=+)
(conductivity=0)
A definition of phase quadrature is given by

(8-103) shows that in medium 1, H at z=0 is nonzero. Since in medium 2 (perfect


conductor), H is zero. Thus, H is discontinuous across z=0. This means that
there is a surface current on the boundary (at z=0).
(8-102) shows that E is continuous across the surface at z=0.
8-7 Oblique Incidence at a Plane Conducting Boundary

Perfect conductor
Lossless medium
(conductivity=+)
(conductivity=0)

Incidence plane:
The incident wave vector K
and the normal n (of the
interface) form the
incidence plane

We shall address two cases:


1) E is perpendicular to the plane of incidence
2) E is parallel to the plane of incidence
Fig. 8-11 (perpendicular polarization)
E is perpendicular to the plane of
incidence.
DISCUSSIONS: (Oblique incidence of perpendicular polarization)

Fig. 8-11 (perpendicular polarization)


E is perpendicular to the plane of
incidence.
8-7.2 Parallel polarization

Fig. 8-13 (parallel polarization)


E is parallel to the plane of
incidence.
DISCUSSIONS: (Oblique incidence of parallel polarization)
8-8 Normal Incidence at a Plane Dielectric Boundary

Both media are dissipationless


(electric conductivity=0)
A simple case:
8-10 Oblique Incidence at a Plane Dielectric Boundary

Both media are dissipationless


(electric conductivity=0)
8-10.2 Perpendicular polarization

Fig. 8-20
Perpendicular polarization
(E is perpendicular to the
plane of incidence)
A simple case:
Brewster angle for perpendicular polarization
(D. K. Cheng, p. 414)

Such an effect of Brewster angle (for


perpendicular polarization) has no
potential applications because the
denominator would be zero.
8-10.3 Parallel polarization

Fig. 8-21
Parallel polarization
(E is parallel to the plane of
incidence)
Brewster angle for parallel polarization
(D. K. Cheng, p. 416)
An application of the Brewster angle (D. K. Cheng, p. 416) :
Since the formulae of the Brewster angles for perpendicular
and parallel polarizations are different, it is possible to separate
these two types of polarizations in an unpolarized wave.
For example, the perpendicularly polarized wave is reflected, while the
parallelly polarized wave is refracted.
Applications
Brewster windows
Gas lasers use a window tilted at Brewster's angle to allow the beam to leave
the laser tube. Since the window reflects some s-polarized light but no p-
polarized light, the round trip loss for the s polarization is higher than that of
the p polarization. This causes the laser's output to be p polarized due to
competition between the two modes.
Photographers use the same principle to remove reflections from
glass so that they can photograph objects beneath the surface.

Photograph taken of a window with a camera polarizer filter rotated to two


different angles. In the picture at left, the polarizer is aligned with the polarization
angle of the window reflection. In the picture at right, the polarizer has been rotated
90eliminating the heavily polarized reflected sunlight.