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ELEC2020 Electromagnetic Fields and Waves Example Sheet 2 James Wilkinson


What is the relationship between the electric field E and the current density J in a conducting medium?

A1. Q2.

J = E where is the conductivity

Consider an interface between two dielectric materials, one with r = 2 while the other has r = 5. If the tangential component of electric field on one side of the interface has a magnitude of 10V.m-1 what is the magnitude of the tangential component of electric field on the other side?

A2. Q3. A3.

10V.m-1 because E1// = E2//

Same question as 2 but for the normal component of electric field.

For perfect dielectrics D1 = D2 so that 1 E1 = 2 E2 . Assuming E1 = 10V.m-1 then E2 = (1/2) . 10V.m-1 or 4V.m-1

Q4. A4.

What is meant by the polarisation of electromagnetic waves?

The polarisation is the direction of the electric field in an electromagnetic wave.

Write down the expression of the intensity in an electromagnetic wave in terms of the electric field in the wave and the wave impedance of the medium, Z. Explain how Z is related to the refractive index of the medium.



I = E02/2Z. The wave impedance of a medium is equal to the wave impedance of free-space divided by the refractive index of the medium, Z=Z0/n.
What is Snells Law? Sketch the path of a light ray going from a high index material to a low index material.
n1 n2



n1 sin = n2 sin

Q7. A7.

Explain, using Snells Law, how optical fibres confine light.

Snells Law says that light is refracted at a larger angle to the normal when it enters a medium of lower refractive index. Beyond the critical angle, the sine of the refracted angle (sin ) is greater than 1. Then the angle of refraction is complex and reflection is total. In an optical fibre all rays in the core incident upon the cladding at angles beyond the critical angle are trapped, so that rays within this cone of angles are confined.
Q8. What is an optical amplifier? Explain the role of population inversion in its operation.

An optical amplifier is a device which amplifies light signals. Optical amplifiers have energy levels with an energy difference equivalent to that of the wavelength of light to be amplified. Such a system has a population density of electrons in the lower state, N1, and in the upper state, N2. Electrons in the ground state absorb light from incoming photons of the correct wavelength and are promoted to the upper state. Electrons in the upper state create stimulated emission and hence gain, and these processes have similar probabilities. In order to obtain gain rather than loss it is necessary to ensure that N2 > N1, and this is referred to as population inversion.


What is the difference between a single mode optical fibre and a multimode optical fibre? Which sort are preferred for long-distance telecommunications, and why?

Single mode optical fibre has one mode with only one possible ray path at a given frequency. In practice they have smaller diameter cores and lower core-cladding index differences than multimode fibres. Single mode fibres are preferred for long-distance communications due to reduced pulsespreading.