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Exercise 12 - Electromagnetic waves.

EMT 238 - Electromagnetic Theory

Lecture Review
Electromagnetic waves in vacuum
Maxwell’s equations predict the existence of electromagnetic waves in free space (region
with no charge and current). An electromagnetic wave is basically an oscillation of electric
and magnetic fields that propagates with velocity

v=√ = 3.00 × 108 m/s = c (1)
0 µ0

Based on the value of the speed of EM waves, which is calculated theoretically, it has been
deduced that light is an electromagnetic wave.

An electromagnetic wave is normally represented mathematically as a sinusoidal function

E(x, t) = E0 n̂ cos(kx − ωt) (2)

E0 = the amplitude
n̂ = the direction of oscillation/polarization
k = wave number (it is related to the wavelength λ)

ω = angular frequency (it is related to the frequency)
= 2πf
ω and k are related to each other via the relation
c= = fλ (3)

The direction of propagation can be determined from the signs of the terms in the phase.

• If (kx − ωt), then the wave propagates along the +x-axis.

• If (kx + ωt), then the wave propagates along the −x-axis.

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The magnetic field accompanying the electric field (2) in an EM wave is given by

~ = 1 (k̂ × E)
B ~ (4)

where k̂ is the direction of propagation.

As with all other waves, electromagnetic waves transport energy. The average power density
(energy per unit area per unit time) is given by

hSiav = c0 E02 (5)

EM waves in materials
To investigate EM waves in material with permittivity  and permeability µ, we can use the
same equations for EM waves in vacuum, with the simple replacements 0 → , µ0 → µ and
hence c → v where
v=√ (6)

Thus in material with permittivity  and permeability µ, we have

B ~ = µ (k̂ × E)
~ = 1 (k̂ × E) ~ (7)
v η

1 1
hSiav = vE02 = E02 (8)
2 2η
The new quantity η that appears in the above equations is called intrinsic impedance of
the material and defined as r
η= (9)

~ and B
Figure 1: An EM wave consists of E ~ oscillating perpendicular to each other and to
the propagation direction.

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1. (a) By combining relevant Maxwell’s equations, derive the wave equation for the mag-
~ in free space where there is no charge and current (ρv = 0 and ~J = 0)
netic field B

~ = µ0 0
∇2 B

(b) Show that the function

~ 1
B(x, t) = B0 n̂ cos[k(x − vt)] where v = √
0 µ0

satisfies the wave equation (consider only the magnetic field in one dimension).
(c) Convince yourself that the function above represents a wave propagating with ve-
locity v.
(d) Convince yourself that light is an electromagnetic wave.

2. The magnetic field of a wave propagating through a certain nonmagnetic material is

given by
B~ = 30 cos(108 t − 0.5y) (T)
Find the following:
(a) The direction of propagation
(b) The velocity
(c) The wavelength in the material
(d) The relative permittivity of the material

3. Write general expressions for the electric and magnetic fields of a 1-GHz sinusoidal
plane wave travelling in the +y-direction in a lossless nonmagnetic medium with relative
permittivity r = 9. The electric field is polarized along the x-direction, its peak value
is 6 V/m.

4. The electric field of a plane wave propagating in a lossless, nonmagnetic, dielectric ma-
terial with r = 2.56 is given by
~ = 20 ây cos(6π × 109 t − kz)
E (V/m)

(a) The frequency
(b) The velocity
(c) The wavelength
(d) The intrinsic impedence

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(e) The magnetic field H
(f) The average power density carried by the wave

5. The magnetic field of a plane wave travelling in air is given by

~ = 50 âx sin(2π × 107 t − ky)
B (T).

Determine average power density carried by the wave.

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