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Electromagnetic Surface Waves by Akhlesh Lakhtakia, Tom Mackay, John Polo

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Chapter 1

Surface Waves

1.1 Introduction

The planar interface of two dissimilar materials plays a vital role in many optical phenomenons. In elementary optics, for instance, the material interface appears to be responsible for reflection and refraction: light approaches the interface along a straight path, and then abruptly breaks up into two parts, both of which continue along straight paths in two different directions. Of course, the entirety of the refracting material is involved in what is actually seen, but that realization requires understanding of a conceptual framework based on the fundamental laws of electromagnetism.

One can, however, discern a more gradual change at the interface when total internal reflection occurs. Thus Isaac Newton ...

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