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To displace any function f(x) to the

right, just change its argument from

x to x-a, where a is a positive

number.

If we let a = v t, where v is positive

and t is time, then the displacement

will increase with time.

f(x)

f(x-2)

f(x-1)

f(x-3)

or forward, propagating wave.

Similarly, f(x + v t) represents a

leftward, or backward, propagating

wave, where v is the velocity of the

wave.

The one-dimensional wave equation for scalar (i.e., non-vector)

functions, f:

2 f

x 2

1 2 f

v 2 t 2

The wave equation has the simple solution:

f ( x, t ) f ( x vt )

where f (u) can be any twice-differentiable function.

Write f (x vt) as f (u), where u = x vt. So u

and

1

x

f f u

x u x

So

f f

x u

2

2

x 2 u 2

and

f

f

v

t

u

f f u

t u t

2

2

f

2

v

t 2

u 2

2 f

1 2 f

2 2

2

x

v t

2 f

1 2 2 f

2 v

2

u

v

u 2

u

v

t

E0 = wave amplitude (related to the energy

carried by the wave).

2

k=

= 2 = angular wavenumber

( = wavelength;

= wavenumber = 1/)

Alternatively:

E = E 0 cos(kx t)

frequency (f = frequency)

The argument of the cosine function represents the phase of the wave,

, or the fraction of a complete cycle of the wave.

In-phase waves

Out-of-phase

waves

How fast is the wave traveling?

Velocity is a reference distance

divided by a reference time.

Since f = 1/:

v = f

In terms of k, k = 2/ , and

the angular frequency, = 2/ , this is:

v =/k

This is the velocity at which the overall shape of the waves amplitudes,

or the wave envelope, propagates. (= signal velocity)

Here, phase velocity = group velocity (the medium is non-dispersive)

Black dot moves at phase velocity. Red dot moves at group velocity.

This is normal dispersion (refractive index decreases with increasing )

Black dot moves at group velocity. Red dot moves at phase velocity.

This is anomalous dispersion (refractive index increases with increasing )

Refractive index of blue light > red light.

Complex numbers

Consider a point,

P = (x,y), on a 2D

Cartesian grid.

and the y-coordinate the imaginary part

of a complex number.

So, instead of using an ordered pair, (x,y), we write:

P = x+iy

= A cos() + i A sin()

where i = (-1)

or sometimes j = (-1)

Eulers Formula

Formula Ever in 1988

P = A exp(i) = A ei

where

A = Amplitude

= Phase

The argument of the cosine function represents the phase of the wave,

, or the fraction of a complete cycle of the wave.

Using complex numbers, we can write the harmonic wave equation as:

E = E 0e

ik( x ct )

= E 0e

i( kx t )

actually represents the wave.

We also need to specify the displacement E at x = 0 and t = 0, i.e., the

initial displacement.

E(x,t) = A cos[(k x t ) ]

A = Amplitude

= Absolute phase (or initial, constant phase) at x = 0, t =0

kx

So the electric field of an EM wave can be written:

E(x,t) = E0 cos(kx t )

Since exp(i) = cos() + i sin(), E(x,t) can also be written:

E(x,t) = Re { E0 exp[i(kx t )] }

Recall that the energy transferred by a wave (flux density) is

proportional to the square of the amplitude, i.e., E02. Only the interaction

of the wave with matter can alter the energy of the propagating wave.

Remote sensing exploits this modulation of energy.

We can let the amplitude be complex:

E(x,t) = E 0 exp[i(kx t )]

E(x,t) = [E 0 exp(i)] exp[i(kx t)]

Where the constant stuff is separated from the rapidly changing stuff.

is constant in this case (as E 0 and are constant), which implies that the medium in which the

wave is propagating is nonabsorbing.

[E 0 exp(i)]

Adding waves of the same frequency, but different initial phase,

yields a wave of the same frequency.

This isn't so obvious using trigonometric functions, but it's easy

with complex exponentials:

%

%

%

%

( E1 E2 E3 ) exp i( kx t )

% % %

where all initial phases are lumped into E1, E2, and E3.

Vector fields

However, light is a 3D vector field.

A 3D vector field assigns a 3D vector (i.e., an arrow having both

direction and length) to each point in 3D space.

A light wave has both electric and magnetic 3D vector fields:

And it can propagate in any direction, and point in any direction in space.

solution

A light wave can propagate in any

direction in space. So we must allow

the space derivative to be 3D:

r2

2 E

E 2 0

t

r r

r r

r

whose solution is: E(x, y,z,t) = E0 exp(k"x) exp([i(k'x t)]

r r

k

' +ik" is a complex wave vector the length of this

And k=

Its magnitude is the angular wavenumber, k = 2/.

solution

r r

r r

r

E(x, y,z,t) = E0 exp(k"x) exp([i(k'x t)]

The vector

is normal to planes of constant phase (and hence indicates the

k'

direction of propagation of wave crests)

k"

The vector

is normal to planes of constant amplitude. Note that these are not

necessarily parallel.

The

amplitude of the wave at location

r r

E exp(k"x)

is zero, then the medium is nonabsorbing, since the 0amplitude is

is now:

So if

constant

k"

The speed of an EM wave in free space is given by:

c=

=

00 k

To describe EM propagation in other media,two

properties of the medium

are important, its electric permittivity and magnetic permeability .

These are also complex parameters.

= 0(1+ ) + i = complex permittivity

= electric conductivity

= electric susceptibility (to polarization under the influence of an

external field)

Note that and also depend on frequency ().

In a non-vacuum, the wave must still satisfy Maxwells Equations:

v=

=

k

We can now define the complex index of refraction, N, as the ratio of

the wave velocity in free space to the velocity in the medium:

c

N=

=

or

00 v

N = nr + i ni

the phase velocity of the wave in the medium. For most physical media,

N > 1 (i.e., the speed of light is reduced relative to a vacuum).

NB. N is a property of a particular medium and also a function of

Relationships between the wave vector and the refractive index (these

are derived from Maxwells Equations):

nr 2

k =

=

c

ni 2ni

k=

=

c

c

Imaginary part of wave vector

frequency, velocity and refractive index.

Absorption of EM radiation

vector):

1

F = c0 E 2

2

reduced.

Absorption of EM radiation

r r

xis: E0 exp(k"x)

r r 2

r r

F = F0 [exp(k"x)] = F0 exp(2 k"x)

Absorption of EM radiation

And we have:

k:

ni 2ni

k=

=

c

c

4ni

F = F0 exp(

x)

c

in the x-direction.

4ni

F = F0 exp(

x) = F0 e

c

Where a is known as the absorption coefficient:

ax

4ni 4ni

=

c

The

quantity 1/a gives the distance required for the waves energy to be

attenuated to e-1 or ~37% of its original value, or the absorption/skin

depth. Its a function of frequency/wavelength.

Within a certain material, and EM wave with = 1 m is attenuated to

10% of its original intensity after propagating 1 cm. Determine the

imaginary part of the refractive index ni.

qe2

Nk

n =1+

2 2

20 m k k + ik

qe = charge on an electron

0 = electric constant

m = mass of an electron

Nk

= number of charges (oscillators) of type k per unit volume

= angular frequency of the EM radiation

k = resonant frequency of an electron bound in an atom

= damping coefficient for oscillator k (oscillation cannot be permanent)

What is the refractive index of visible light in air?

What happens as the frequency of EM radiation increases at constant k?

What happens if the resonant frequency is in the visible range?

What happens if > k? e.g., shine x-rays on glass, or radio waves on free

electrons.

(also called absorption depth or skin depth)

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