Ilya V. Shadrivov
Nonlinear Physics Group
Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering, ANU

Darran Edmundson
ANU Supercomputer Facility Vizlab



Surface Waves in Left-Handed Materials

During the last 2-3 years, new types of composite materials (so-called "left-handed metamaterials") have been demonstrated experimentally. These materials possess both negative dielectric permittivity and magnetic permeability, and electromagnetic waves propagating in such media are backwards or left-handed. This leads to many unusual properties of wave propagation and scattering. In particular, the unusual reflection and transmission of electromagnetic waves by an interface between right- and left-handed media can be explained by the concept of a negative index of wave refraction.

In the first theoretical study of the left-handed materials [V.G. Veselago, Usp. Fiz. Nauk 92, 517 (1968)], a number of remarkable phenomena were predicted. One of them, the negative refraction of the electromagnetic waves at the interface between the LHM and a usual material, has been recently observed experimentally for microwaves. Also, it was suggested, that a slab of the left-handed material can act as a perfect lens providing focusing beyond the diffraction limit.

Photonic crystals possess a complicated band gap structure and, under particular conditions, phenomena similar to those in left-handed materials are shown to take place. This would allow creating perfect lenses and other useful devices for optical applications.

Here, we have studied electromagnetic pulse propagation along a planar guiding system which includes both right- and left-handed media. The most interesting feature of such pulses is their internal energy dynamics. We present the Pointing vector plot corresponding to a pulse propagating along an interface, and the same for a pulse propagating along a slab of left-handed material in an otherwise right-handed medium.

 

The energy dynamics of a pulse propagating along an interface between right- and left-handed media. Yellow arrows show the local orientation of the Pointing vector. The opposite directions of the energy flow in two media creates a vortex-like structure. [8.0 Mb DivX AVI]

 

The energy dynamics of a pulse propagating along a slab of the left-handed medium surrounded by right-handed media. Yellow arrows show the local orientation of the Pointing vector. Difference of the energy fluxes inside and outside the slab determines the group velocity. Varying the slab thickness it is possible to control these parameters and obtain desirable values of the velocity of the pulse propagation. [8.4 Mb DivX AVI]

Travelling overhead view. [7.5 Mb DivX AVI]

Return to Viz Showcase.