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Group velocity of light in biaxial crystals

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Abstract

Based on the wave vector surface, we have derived the analytical expressions for the group velocity of light traveling in an optically biaxial crystal in an arbitrary direction. Our formulas are in terms of either the wave vector direction or the ray direction. An axis dispersion vector is introduced to specify the rotation of the dielectric frame in monoclinic and triclinic crystals, which is found to be responsible for the asymmetry of the group velocity surfaces of these two crystal systems when compared to their phase and ray velocity surfaces. Our formulas confirm that the group velocity of light in a nondissipative medium equals the ratio between the Poynting vector and the total energy density of the electromagnetic field. The group index of light is found to be decomposable into three parts: the ray index, the group index due to principal refractive index dispersion, and that due to axis dispersion. Numerical calculations are performed for the group velocity of light in ${\rm Sn}_2{\rm P}_2{\rm S}_6$ crystal at 550 nm wavelength. Our results show that the dispersion of the principal refractive indices has a considerable contribution to the group index.

© 2021 Optical Society of America

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Equations (79)

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