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Transmission of dipole radiation through interfaces and the phenomenon of anti-critical angles

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Abstract

Radiation emitted by an electric dipole consists of traveling and evanescent plane waves. Usually, only the traveling waves are observable by a measurement in the far field, since the evanescent waves die out over a length of approximately a wavelength from the source. We show that when the radiation is passed through an interface with a medium with an index of refraction larger than the index of refraction of the embedding medium of the dipole, a portion of the evanescent waves are converted into traveling waves, and they become observable in the far field. The same conclusion holds when the waves pass through a layer of finite thickness. Waves that are transmitted under an angle larger than the so-called anti-critical angle θac(1) are shown to originate in evanescent dipole waves. In this fashion, part of the evanescent spectrum of the radiation becomes amenable to observation in the far field. We also show that in many situations the power in the far field coming from evanescent waves greatly exceeds the power originating in traveling waves.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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