You are on page 1of 39

# *Note: The information below can be referenced to: Iskander, M.

, Electromagnetic
Fields and Waves, Waveland Press, Prospect Heights, IL, 1992, ISBN: 1-57766-115-X.
Edminister, J., Electromagnetics (Schaums Outline), McGraw-Hill, New York, NY,
1993, ISBN: 0-07-018993-5. Hecht, E., Optics (Schaums Outlines), McGraw-Hill, New
York, NY, ISBN: 0-07-027730-3. Serway, R., & Faughn, J., College Physics, ISBN: 003-022952-9.

Chapter 6
Oblique Incidence Plane Wave Reflection and Transmission
6.1 Plane Wave Propagation at Arbitrary Angle
Plane waves are not normally incident, so now we must consider the general problem of a
plane wave propagating along a specified axis that is arbitrarily relative to a rectangular
coordinate system. The most convenient way is in terms of the direction cosines of the
uniform plane wave, the equiphase surfaces are planes perpendicular to the direction of
propagation.
Definitions:
uniform planes a free space plane wave at an infinite distance from the
generator, having constant amplitude electric and magnetic field vectors over the
equiphase surfaces.
equiphase surface any surface in a wave over which the field vectors of a
particular instant have either 0 or 180 phase difference.
For a plane wave propagating along the +z axis
( z ) m e j z a x

(6.1)

Equation (6.1) states that each z equal to a constant plane will represent an equiphase
surface with no spatial variation in the electric or magnetic fields. In other words,

0
x
y

## for a uniform plane wave

It will be necessary to replace z for a plane wave traveling in an arbitrary direction with
an expression when put equal to a constant (z = constant), that will result in equiphase
surfaces.
The equation of an equiphase plane is given by
r n r

The radial vector (r) from the origin to any point on the plane, and is the vector normal
to the plane is shown in Figure (6.1).

## Notes by: Debbie Prestridge

z
P

n
M

z
y
O
x

r
y
W

As you can see from figure 6.1, the plane perpendicular to the vector is seen from its
side appearing as a line P-W. The dot product n r is the projection of the radial vector r
along the normal to the plane and will have the constant value OM for all points on the
plane. The equation r = constant is the characteristic property of a plane
perpendicular to the direction of propagation .
The equiphase equation is
r = xx + yy + zz
= (cos xx + cos yy + cos zz)
= constant

r=

x a x y a y z az

x a x y a y z az

x, y, z, are the angles the vector makes with x, y, and z axes, respectively.

## Notes by: Debbie Prestridge

Definition:
transverse electromagnetic wave (TEM) electromagnetic wave having electric
field vectors and magnetic field vectors perpendicular to the direction of propagation.
H is perpendicular to E, and both E and H are perpendicular to the direction of

## propagation . The expressions for and are

m e j r

(6.2)

The unit vector n along and is the wave impedance in the propagation medium. See

Figure 6.2 for the illustration of orthogonal relations between and and the direction
of propagation.
Z

Plane of constant
phase

E
p=PxH
power density flow

n
r

Point on the
plane

EXAMPLE 6.1
The vector amplitude of an electric field associated with a plane wave that propagates in
the negative z direction in free space is given by

m 2 a x 3 a y V

## Find the magnetic field strength.

Solution:
The direction of propagation n is az. The vector amplitude of the magnetic field is then

given by

*note

ax a y az
1
1

0 0 1
3 a x 2 a y A m
377

2 3 0

## 120~377 (Appendix D Table D.1)

EXAMPLE 6.2
The phasor electric field expression in a phase is given by

a
a 2 j5 a e j 2.3( 0.6 x 0.8 y )

x
z
y y

## Find the following:

1. y .
2. Vector magnetic field, assuming and .
3. Frequency and wavelength of this wave.
4. Equation of surface of constant phase.
Solution:
1. The general expression for a uniform plane wave propagating in an arbitrary
direction is given by
m e j r

## where the amplitude vector m , in general, has components in the x, y, and z

directions. Comparing equation 6.3 with the general field equation for the plane
wave propagating in an arbitrary direction, we obtain
r = xx + yy + zz
= (cos xx + cos yy + cos zz)
= 2.3(-0.6x + 0.8y + 0)

## Hence, a unit vector in the direction of propagation n is given by

n = -0.6ax + 0.8ay.

## Because the electric field must be perpendicular to the direction of propagation n, it

must satisfy the following relations:
=0
n

## Therefore, (-0.6ax + 0.8ay)

Or

a x y a y 2 j5 a z 0

-0.6 + 0.8 y = 0
= 0.75. The electric field is given by

Hence,

a
a 2 j5 a e j 2.3( 0.6 x 0.8 y )

x
z
y y

2.

## The vector magnetic field is given by

ax
1
1

n
0.6

377
1

ay
0.8
0.75

az
0
2 j5

so that
0.8( 2 j5) 4.24 j10.6 10 3

x
377

0.6( 2 j5)
318
. j 7.95 10 3
377

z
377

a
a
a

x x
y y
z z

2
2

2.73 m

2.3

f
4.

c 3 108

0.11 GHz

2.73

## The equation of the surface of constant phase is

n r = -0.6x + 0.8y = constant
The general expression of this equation in terms of the direction cosines is given
by
n r = (cos xx + cos yy + cos zz) = constant
Comparison between equation 6.4 and the general expression shows that the plane
given in equation 6.4 has no z dependence and, hence defines a plane parallel to
the z axis. In other words, equation 6.4 can be obtained by substituting x = /2 in
the general expression of the equiphase plane.

## 6.2 Reflection by Perfect Conductor Arbitrary Angle of Incidence

By decomposing the general problem into two special cases we can simplify our analysis.
1. E field is polarized in the plane formed by the normal to the reflecting surface in the
direction i of the incident wave.
2. E field is perpendicular to the plane of incidence.
The plane formed by the normal to the reflecting surface and the direction of propagation
is known as the plane of incidence. The general case can be considered as a
superposition of two cases

## E is parallel to the plane of incidence

E is perpendicular to the plane of incidence

## 6.2.1 E Field Parallel to Plane of Incidence

Notes by: Debbie Prestridge

X
Y

Perfect
Conductor
Z

The figure shows an incident wave polarized with the E field in the plane of incidence
and the power flow in the direction of i at angle i with respect to the normal to the
surface of the perfect conductor.
The direction of propagation is given by the Poynting vector and the i , E, and H fields
need to be arranged so that i is in the same direction as i i at any time. The
a
magnetic field is out of the plane of the paper,
y y for the direction of the electric
field shown. There is no transmitted field within the perfect conductor; however there
will be a reflected field with power flow at the angle r with respect to the normal to the
interface. To maintain the power density flow r r will be in the same direction r
as. The expression for the total electric field in free space is
i r im e j i r rm e j r r

i r cos i a z sin i a x x a x y a y z a z

(6.5)

x sin i z cos i

(6.6)

r r x sin r z cos r

(6.7)

## Notes by: Debbie Prestridge

j r
x x , z im cos i e j i r rm cos r e r
j r
z x , z im sin i e j i r rm sin r e r
x

at z 0

im cos i e j i r rm cos r e

j r r

jxsin r
im cos i e jx sin i rm cos r e
0

(6.8)

Equation 6.8 shows the relationship between the incident and reflected amplitudes for a
perfect conductor the total tangential E field at the surface must be zero which satisfies
the boundary condition. To be zero at all values of x along the surface of the conducting
plane, the phase terms must be equal to each other
i r

(6.9)

## Equation 6.9 is known as Snells law of reflection.

Definition:
Snells Law is a rule of Physics that applies to visible light passing from air (or
vacuum) to some medium with an index of refraction different from air.
Substitute equation 6.9 into equation 6.8
im rm

(6.10)

## Therefore, the total electric field in free space is

( x , z ) x x , z a x z x , z a z

## mi cos i e jx sin i e j z cos i e j z cos i a x

im sin i e jx sin i

e j z cos i e j z cosi a z

jx sin i
2 j im cos i sin ( z cos i )e
ax

(6.11)

## sin i cos z cos i a z e jx sin i

Take equation 6.11 and recover the time-domain form of the total electric field

r e j t
r , t Re

Observe the variation of the total field with the x variable indicating there is a traveling
wave in the x direction with a phase constant

x sin i
And in the z direction the field forms a standing wave.
The total magnetic field is
x, z
x, z a
i x, z a
r x, z a

y
y
y
y
y
y

n
i i i

ax
sin i

ay
0

az
cos i

## i cos e j (sin i x cos i z ) 0

i sin e j (sin i x cos i z

i
m
m
ii

i is the ay component
The solution of the determinant, the only nonzero component of
given by

1
i a y im cos2 i e j sin i x cos i z im sin2 i e j sin i x cos i z

im j sin x cos z
i
i ay
e

## The reflected magnetic fields is given by

i
r m e j sin i x cos i z a

## The total magnetic field (x, z) is

i
( x , z ) a 2 m cos z cos e jx sin i

y
i

ave x , z

Re
2

ax
1

Re
x
2
0

ay
0

az
z
y 0

## The cross product yields two components:

One in the x direction
One in the z direction
ave

1
Re z y a x x y a z
2

ave x , z
i
2
m

1
a
Re z
x
y
2

## sin i cos2 z cos i a x

Glancing Incident:

i 90 , ave

i 2
2
m

ax ,

## the power flow is at maximum.

10

Normal Incident:
i 0, x , ave 0 (Power flow in the x direction is zero)

Average power flow perpendicular to the conducting surface is zero, because the average
Poynting Vector is zero in that direction

1
Re x y 0
2
and

## Why? Because x is multiplied by j, therefore

x
y are out of phase by 90.
P z , ave

Therefore, a traveling-wave pattern occurs in the x direction, because the incident and
reflected waves travel in the same direction, the standing-wave pattern will be observed
in the z direction, because the incident and reflected waves travel in the opposite
directions.
The location of zeros (nodes) of the x field can be found by letting sin z cos i
At a distance z from the conducting plane given by

= 0.

z cos i n
Or

z = n 2 cos
i

n 0, 1, 2 ,...

The zeros will occur at distances larger than integer multiples of 2 . So, for normal
incidence, i 0, cos i 1 , and the positions of the zeros will are the same as those
discussed in chapter 5. For the oblique incidence, the locations of the standing-wave
nodes are 2 apart along the direction of propagation. The wavelength measured along
the z-axis is greater than the wavelength of the incident waves along the direction of
propagation. As shown in Figure 6.4 the relation between these wavelengths is
z

.
cos i

## Notes by: Debbie Prestridge

11

Incident wave
fronts

z
cos i
i

Figure 6.4

The plane of the zero x field occur at multiples of 2 along the direction of
propagation, and they are located at integer multiples of z 2 along the z-axis which
appear separated by larger distances. Also note that the standing-wave pattern associated
with the z component may appear as if there is no zero value of the electric field at
z = 0, but the z component is normal to the reflecting surface, therefore the boundary
condition is not in violation.
6.2.2 Electric Field Normal to the Plane of Incidence
The entire electric field is (out of the paper) in the y direction and the magnetic field will
have both x and z components. See Figure 6.5.
The incident electric and magnetic fields are
i im e j i r

n i i
i
m cos i a x sin i a z e j i r

## Notes by: Debbie Prestridge

12

i r
ax
Y

Perfect
Conductor

az
Figure 6.5

where i r sin i x cosi z . Assume that the reflected field is also in the y direction
so the magnetic field must be perpendicular to both E and the Poynting Vector P = E ^ H,
r rm e j r r a y

n r r rm

cos r a x sin r a z e j r r

## Where r r sin r x cos r z . Determine the angle of reflection r and the

amplitude of the reflected electric field rm by using the boundary conditions at z = 0.
This also includes zero values of the tangential electrical field E and the normal
component of the magnetic field H.
x, z
i
r 0 at

y
y
y

z=0

Therefore,
y x ,0 im e j x sin i rm e j x sin r 0

And

13

## x , 0 1 i sin e jx sin i 1 r sin e jx sin r 0

z
m
i
m
i

r
Note: These two conditions will provide the same results for the unknowns r and
m
, and be true for every value of x along z = 0 plane, so the phase factors must be equal.

r i
And
r
i

m
m

Negative sign indicates the opposite direction of the reflected electric field (i.e. into the
paper)
The total E field is

## y x , z im e j x sin i e j z cos i e j z cos i

z cos i e j x sin i

2 j im sin

## The total H field is

n i

n i

i r
a y im e j i r
a y im e j i r

And the substitution of rm im has been made. The direction vectors of the incident
and reflective wave are
n i, r sin i a x cos i a z

And

n i, r a y sin i a z cos i a x

## The components of the total magnetic field are

i
x , z 2 m cos cos z cos e jx sin i

x
i
i

i
x , z 2 j m sin sin z cos e jx sin i

i
i
z

## Notes by: Debbie Prestridge

14

There is a standing-wave in the z direction because the reflected and incident waves
travel in the opposite direction along the z-axis. The fields traveling in the x direction
and having the only nonzero power flow in the direction parallel to the interface.
The concept can be illustrated by considering the average density flow associated with
the wave.
ave x , z

1
Re
2
ax
1
Re 0
2
S
i
2
m

ay
T

az
0

## This indicates that the power flow is

in the x direction.
S

2 im
i
j x sini
cos i cos z cos i e j x sin i , T 2 m sin z cos i e
,

2 im
sin i sin z cosi e j x sin i

EXAMPLES:
Find the peak value of an induced surface current when a plane wave is incident at am
angle on a large plane, perfectly conducting sheet. The surface of the sheet is located at z
= 0 and

x
z
i 10 cos 1010 t

a yV m

2
2

Solution
From the equation of the incident electric field, the propagation vector is given by

ax
az
2
2

sin 45 a x cos 45 a z ,

that is, i 45
Because the electric field is along the y direction that is, perpendicular to the plane of
incidence, the equations given in the section above will be used.

## Notes by: Debbie Prestridge

15

The sheet current J (in ampere per meter) is determined by the total tangential
magnetic field at the surface. From the boundary condition,

J n

where the normal n to the surface for the geometry of Figure 6.5 is n = -az. The magnetic
field in this case has two components:
2 im
x
cos i cos z cos i e jx sin i

i
2 j m sin sin z cos e jx sin i

i
z
i

## The surface is then current is then

im

J at z 0 a z a y 2 cos i e jx sin i

## And the peak value of the surface current at z = 0 is given by

i
2
2(10) cos 45
m
J peakvalue
cos i
3.75x 102 A m

377

EXAMPLE:
The electric field associated with a plane wave propagating in an arbitrary direction is
given by
(7.83 a x 4 a y 4.5 a z ) e j 7( 0.5 x 0.87 z )

If this incident on a perfectly conducting plane oriented perpendicular to the z axis, find
the following:
1. Reflected electric field.

16

## 2. Total electric field in region in front of the perfect conductor.

3. Total magnetic field.
Solution
Because a vector in the direction of propagation and a unit vector normal to the reflecting
surface are contained in the x-z plane, we consider the x-z plane to be the plane of
incidence as shown in Figure 6.6. The given electric field may, therefore, be decomposed
into two components. The parallel polarization case in which the electric field is
perpendicular to the plane of incidence || and the perpendicular polarization case in
which the electric field is perpendicular to the plane of incidence
equation of the electric field,

## ( 7.83 a 4.5 a ) e j 7( 0.5 x 0.87 z )

x
z
||

Comparing this with the equation of the electric field in the parallel polarization case,
where the incident electric field is given by
i im (cos i a x sin i ) e j (sin i x cos i z )

i
X
Y

Figure 6.6
Observe that:

cos i 05.

sin i 087
.

That is, i 30

17

## The magnitude of the incident electric field im is therefore = 7.83/0.87 = 9 or 4.5/0.5 =

9. Hence, the electric field associated with the parallel polarization case can be expressed
in the form
i 9( 0.87 a 0.5 a ) e j ( 0.5 x 0.87 z )

x
z
||

Based on the analysis of section 6.2.1, we have r 30 , and the amplitude of the
reflected electric field ||r i|| 9 . Hence

## We treat the perpendicular polarization case where

. z)
i 4 a y e j7(05. x087
Based on the analysis of section 6.2.2, it can be shown that

r 4 a y e j7(05. x 087. z)
The total reflected electric field is then
r ( 7.83 a 4 a 4.5 a ) e j 7( 0.5x 0.87 z )

x
y
z

Parts 2 and 3 can easily be obtained by the following the analysis of section 6.2.
For example, the magnetic field associated with the electric field in the parallel
polarization case is given by
i 9 e j 7( 0.5x 0.87 z ) a

y
||

## The reflected magnetic field intensity for this polarization is

r 9 e j 7 ( 0.5 x 0.87 z ) a

y
||

For the perpendicular polarization case, the magnetic field has two components,

4
i ( cos i a x sin i a z) e j 7(0.5x 0.87 z)

## Notes by: Debbie Prestridge

18

4
4
cos i a x sin i a z e j 7( 0.5x 0.87 z )

## Because, for the case,

r i

4
r (cos 30 a x sin 30 a z) e j 7(0.5x 0.87z )

## The total reflected magnetic field is then

r 1 ( 4 cos 30 a 9 a 4 sin 30 a ) e j 7 ( 0.5x 0.87 z )

x
y
z

## 6.3 Reflection and Refraction at Plane Interface between Two Media:

Oblique Incidence
Figure 6.7 shows two media with electrical properties 1 and 1 in medium 1, and 2
and 2 in medium 2. Here a plane wave incident angle i on a boundary between the
two media will be partially transmitted into and partially reflected at the dielectric
surface. The transmitted wave is reflected into the second medium, so its direction of
propagation is different from the incidence wave. The figure also shows two rays for
each the incident, reflected, and transmitted waves. A ray is a line drawn normal to the
equiphase surfaces, and the line is along the direction of propagation.

## Notes by: Debbie Prestridge

19

Incident
rays

Reflected
rays

1 , 1
2 , 2

2
E

t
Reflected
rays

Figure 6.7
The incident ray 2 travels the distance CB, while on the contrary the reflected ray 1
travels the distance AE. For both AC and BE to be the incident and reflected wave fronts
or planes of equiphase, the incident wave should take the same time to cover the distance
AE. The reason being that the incident and reflected wave rays are located in the same
medium, therefore their velocities will be equal,
CB AE

V1
V2

OR
AB sin i AB sin r
With this being the case then it follows that

i r
What is the relationship between the angles of incidence i and refraction r ?
It takes the incident ray the equal amount of time to cover distance CB as it takes the
refracted ray to cover distance AD
CB

V1
V2

20

1

V1

1 1

And in medium 2:
V2

2 2

Also,
CB AB sin i
AD AB sin i

Therefore,
CB sin i V 1

AD sin t V 2

2 2
1 1

Therefore,

sin i

sin t

2
1

1 2

(6.12)

## Notes by: Debbie Prestridge

21

||r

i||
i||

r
i

|r|
i r

Region 1

Region 2

(Out of
paper)

||t

||t

t
Z

Figure 6.9

The unknown amplitudes of the reflected and transmitted electric fields ||r and ||t can
be determined by simply applying the boundary conditions at the dielectric interface.
The electric fields ||r and ||t will now be used in the analysis to emphasize the case of
r
and tm .
parallel polarization, instead of using the electric fields m
The tangential component of H should be continuous across the boundary. Therefore,
t e jir a
r e jir a
i e jir a

y
y
y
||
||
||

There is no need to carry the ay vector, because the magnetic fields only have one
component in the y direction. Recall that this relation is valid at z = 0,
i e ji (sin i x )
t e j i (sin t x )
r e j i (sin r xi )

||
||
||

(6.13)

1 & 21 are the magnitudes of in regions 1 & 2, respectively. In order for this to be
valid at any value of x at any point on the interface, and knowing i r :
1 sin i 2 sin t
Or

## Notes by: Debbie Prestridge

22

sin i 2

sin t 1

V 2 V1

V2
V1

* This is the same relation that was determined earlier from Snells Law. Substitute
sin i V 1

sin t V 2
i
r
t

||
||
||

At z = 0

(6.14)

i
r

||
||

1 t

2 ||

(6.15)

i cos i
t cos At z = 0
r cos

r
t
||
||
||

(6.16)

## *Remember the exponential terms cancel out z = 0, (Snells Law).

Equations 6.15 & 6.16 are solved by
r

||

cos i 2 cos t
i|| 1
`1 cos i 2 cos t

And
t

||

i||

22 cos i

`1 cos i 2 cos t

(6.17)

:
transmission
||

||

||
i||

cos t 2 cos i
2 cos t 1 cos i
1

2 cos t 1 cos i

cos t 2 cos i
1

||

and the

1 2

And

## Notes by: Debbie Prestridge

23

||

||

i||

2 2 cos t 1 cos t
2 cos t 1 cos t

2 cos i
cos i

2
cos i
1

1 2

tot
i
r

||
||
||

## im (cos i a x sin i a z ) e j i r + rm ( cos r a x sin r a z) e j rr

cos i im e jx sin i

(e

j z cos i

|| e

j zcos i

)ax

e j z cosi a
i e jx sin i e j z cosi
sin i
m
||
z

Traveling wave
S tan ding plus
part
travelingwaves
(6.18)
Substituted i r , r r from expressions derived earlier, and rm im || .
Equation 6.18 states that there is a traveling-wave field in the x direction, and a traveling
and standing wave field in the z direction. The difference is that || 1 , but that | |
rm im . By rearranging the second term in ax component of the total field

1 e
||

jz cos i

2 || z cos i

## This expression indicates that a wave of amplitude 1 || is propagating in the z

direction and another wave of amplitude 2 | | has the characteristics of a standing wave
along the z axis. The characteristic of the wave along the z axis is a combination of a
traveling and standing wave. If || 1 the amplitude of the traveling wave will be zero,
and the wave characteristic along the z axis will be a totally standing wave. If | | 0 , the
amplitude of the standing wave will be zero and the wave characteristic in the z direction
would be a totally traveling wave.
The magnetic field in region 1 is
i e j ir a +
r e j rr a
tot
i
r

||
||
||
y
y
m
m
i
i
j z cos i m j x cos
i
= m e j x sin i e
r e
1
m

)ay

e j z cos i ) a
j z cos i
i
y
||
m e j x sin i (e
1

24

## The transmitted fields in medium 2 are

i|| tm cos t a x sin t a z e jt r
= i cos a sin a e jt r
||

t x

t z

And

i
t
t a e j t r || m e j t rt a

y
||
m y
2

Where t r 2 x sin t

z cos t

and tm im || .

Definition:
Brewster Angle (from Brewsters Law), the polarizing angle of which (when
light is incident) the reflected and refracted index is equal to the tangent of the polarizing
angle. In other words, the angle of incidence of which there is no reflection.
From the reflection coefficient expression

||

2 cos t 1 cos i
2 cos t 1 cos i

when

0.

1 cos i 2 cos t

Or
cos i

2
cos t
1

(6.19)

## The angle of incidence i , at which | | 0 , is known as the Brewster angle. The

expression for this angle in terms of the dielectric properties of media 1 & 2, considering
Snells Law for the special case 1 2 is

sin i V 1 2

sin t V 2 1
1 2

## Notes by: Debbie Prestridge

25

This condition is important, because it is usually satisfied by the materials often used in
optical applications.
Equation 6.19 will take the form
cos i

1
cos t
2

(6.20)

Square both sides of equation 6.20 and use Snells Law for the special case of
1 2 for the following result:

cos2 i

cos2 t 1 1 sin2 t
2
2

1 1 sin 2 i
2

1 sin2 i

1 12 2

sin i
2 22

1 1 sin2 i
2

2
1 1
22

And
sin2 i

2
2 1

(6.21)

sin i

2
2 1

(6.22)

26

1 cos2 i

2
2 1

cos2 i 1

1
2

2 1 2 1

Or

cos i

1
2 1

tan i

2
1

(6.23)

tan1

2
1

## 6.3.2 Perpendicular Polarization case E Normal to Plane of Incidence

As shown in figure 6.10 is a perpendicular polarized wave incident at angle i a dielectric
medium 2. Snells Law states that a reflected wave will be at the same angle r i , and
the transmitted wave in medium 2 at angle t can be calculated using this law. The
amplitude of the reflected and transmitted waves can be determined by applying the
continuity of the tangential components of E & H at the boundary.
This is given by

27

i
i
1, 1

i r

2 , 2

t
t

## Since E & H are related by ,

i
r
t
cos i
cos i
cos t
1
1
2

i r t

At z = 0

(6.24)
(6.25)

*Note: The exponential factors were canceled after substituting z = 0 and using Snells
Laws in the above two equations.

r
i

2 cos i 1 cos t

=
2 cos i 1 cos t

cos t

2
cos t
1

cos t

2
cos t
1

at z = 0,

28

22 cos i

2 cos i 1 cos t

2 cos i
cos i

2
cos
1 t

## 6.4 Comparison between Reflection Coefficients

and Perpendicular Polarizations

||

## and for Parallel

The significant differences between the two will be illustrated in the following example:
EXAMPLE
1. Define what is meant by the Brewster angle.
2. Calculate the polarization angle (Brewster angle) for an air water r
interface at which plane waves pass from the following:
(a) Air into water.
(b) Water into air.

81

SOLUTION
1. Brewster angle is defined as the angle of incidence at which there will be no
reflected wave. It occurs when the incident wave is polarized such that the E field
is parallel to the plane of incidence.
2. (a) Air into water:
r1 1 and r 2 81
The Brewster angle is then given by
2
tan1
= 6.34
1
Therefore,

29

tan 1 81

= 83.7

## (b) Water into air:

r1 81 and r 2 1
Hence,
tan1

1
= 6.34
81

To relate the Brewster angles in both cases, let us calculate the angle of
refraction.
sin i
2

sin t
1
Therefore, in case a,
sin
81
sin t

Therefore,
sin t

sin 83.7
0.11
9

Or t 6.34 , which is the same as the Brewster angle for case b. Also, the angle of
refraction in case b is given by Snells Law as:

sin

sin t

81

1
81

Therefore,
sin t

sin 6.34
1
81

0.99

## 6.5 Total Reflection at Critical Angle of Incidence

Notes by: Debbie Prestridge

30

In the previous section it was shown that for common dielectrics, the phenomenon of
total transmission exists only where the electric field is parallel to the plane of incidence
known as parallel polarization.
There is a second phenomenon existing for both polarizations:
Total reflection occurring at the interface between two dielectric media
A wave passing from a medium with a larger dielectric constant to a medium with
smaller value of
Snells Law of refraction shows
sin i
2

sin t
1

or

sin i

sin t

2
1

(6.26)

Therefore, if 1 2 , and t i then a wave incident at an angle i will pass into medium
2 at a larger angle t .
Definition:
c , (critical angle of incidence) is the value of i that makes t = /2, see
Figure 6.13.
Substitute t = /2 in equation 6.26 to get
sin c

i
1
2
1 2

, or c sin1 2
1
1

## Notes by: Debbie Prestridge

t 2

31

Figure 6.13 illustrates the fact that t i , if 1 2 . The critical angle c is defined as
the value of i at which t = /2.
Envision a beam of light impinging on an interface between two transparent media where
ni n t . At normal incidence ( i = 0) most of the incoming light is transmitted into the
less dense medium. As i increases, more and more light is reflected back into the dense
medium, while t increases. When t = 90, i is defined to be c and the
transmittance becomes zero. For i > c all of the light is totally internally reflected,
remaining in the incident medium.
EXAMPLES:

Use Snells Law to derive an expression for c. Compute the value of c for a
water-air interface ( n w =1.33).
ni sin i = nti sin t
sin t = nti sin t

Rewrite
As

## Where nti < 1. Requiring that t = 90 for i = c leads to

sin c = nti

At water-air interface
1

c sin 1 (
) = sin 1 0.752 = 48.8
1.33

Imagine yourself lying on the floor of a pool filled with water, looking straight
upwards. How larger a plane angle doe the field of view beyond the pool
apparently subtend?
Rays striking the air-water interface from above at glancing incidence will
enter the water at a transmission angle equal to c . The plane angle subtended at the
observer is therefore 2 c . Here,

sin c =

1
1.33

## Notes by: Debbie Prestridge

32

Determine the critical angle for a water ( n w =1.33) glass ( n g =1.50) interface.
We have

sin c = nti
Or

1.33

c = sin 1
= sin 1 0.887 = 62.5
1.50

33

Wavelength

1 mm

1m

1m

Microwave

3 GHz

1nm

10-6 m

10-3 m

Infrared

3 x 1012 Hz

rays.

10-9 m

V
i
s
b
l
e

U
l
t
r
a
v
i
o
l
e
t

3 x105 Hz

rays

X rays

3 x1018 Hz

Frequency

## 6.7 Application to Optics

The figure above shows the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation extending from the
long- wavelength radio waves to X rays and gamma rays the shortest wavelength.
Topics to be discussed will include control of polarization of incident waves, role of
Brewster windows in light amplification, and use of the concept of angle of total
reflection in optical fibers.

## 6.7.1 Polarization by Reflection

Definition
Notes by: Debbie Prestridge

34

Unpolarized light light in which the wave orientation is random around the axis
of the beam.
Unpolarized light has both polarization cases
Parallel polarization, where the electric field is the plane of incidence
Perpendicular polarization where the electric field is perpendicular to the plane of
incidence
In certain cases, there may be a need to separate the two polarizations. One method that
can be used is the Brewster angle of incidence, also called the polarization angle, to
separate the two orthogonal polarizations.
Example
Consider an Unpolarized light that is incident at the Brewster angle on a piece of glass
. . The polarization with a electric field parallel to
with index of refraction n r 15
the plane of incidence will be entirely transmitted and the other polarization with a
electric field perpendicular to the plane of incidence will be partially reflected and
partially transmitted. Why is the electric field parallel to the plane of incident totally
transmitted? *Because it is incident at the Brewster angle.
The second interface which is glass to air as illustrated in example 6.7 has an angle of
incidence also known as the Brewster angle for light incident from the glass side to free
space. So, again the polarization with E parallel to the plane of incident will be entirely
transmitted, and E perpendicular will be partially reflected and partially transmitted.
In Figure 6.17:
Reflected wave is entirely polarized, E perpendicular to the plane of incidence
Transmitted wave possess both polarizations
Larger amplitude is the E parallel to plane of incidence entirely transmitted
throughout the interfaces
More glass elements and the transmitted light could be essentially completely
polarized, E parallel to the plane of incidence

## 6.7.2 Brewster Windows or Brewster Cuts in LASER

In a normal situation there are more electrons in the ground state (level 1) than in the
excited states (level 2 & 3). In other words, there are more electrons in level 1 ready to
absorb photons that there are electrons in level 2 & 3 to emit photons. A net emission of
Notes by: Debbie Prestridge

35

photons could be the result if this situation could be inverted. Such a condition is called
population inversion. This in fact is the fundamental principle involved in the operation
of a laser. Figure 6.8 illustrates this principle.
Definition:
Laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission) A device that produces
coherent radiation in the visible-light range, between 7500 and 3900 angstroms
Summarized steps leading to LASER action in three-level ruby laser material:
1. The laser material is in the shape of a long rod that is subjected to radiation from
an extremely intense light source that causes interatomic transition from energy
levels 1 to 3. (Figure 6.18b)
2. If the nonradiative transition between level 3 and level 2 is fast enough, then
electrons in level 3 will transfer to level instead of returning to level 1.
3. As a result of direct transition the population of electrons in level 2 will increase
from level 1. This is during the radiation from the light source, as well as the
transfer from level 3. (Figure 6.18c)
4. If the pumping action is large and fast enough the electron population at level 2
can be made larger than level 1. Radiation of light quanta at frequency f21 occurs
when the electrons can make the transition from level 2 to level 1.
5. By placing mirrors at the end of the laser and forcing the radiation to be reflected
back and forth maintaining the high-photon density, stimulated emission will
increase resulting in a large photon density build up or in other words an
avalanche of photons.
6. An intense light beam will result emerging from the end of the laser rod.

Partially polarized
light; mostly E
parallel to plane of
incidence

36

Polarized light
with E
perpendicular to
plane of
incidence

1
n

## Figure 6.18 is a schematic diagram illustrating the sequence of events.

The role of the Brewster angle:
Known Factors
The output of many lasers is linearly polarized
The ratio of the light polarized in one direction exceeds the light polarized in the
orthogonal direction by 1000:1
As in most cases, a high degree of linear polarization will be the result of a Brewster
surface within the laser. A Brewster surface is usually used in the construction of a laser.
The light must be transmitted out of the medium of the laser to avoid minimal loss.

upper level

emitting laser

37

## Figure 6.18 Sequence of events occurring in laser action.

Figure 6.19 is a schematic illustrating the use of Brewster windows in a gas discharge
laser. The Brewster angle makes sure that light in one polarization direction is
transmitted out of the medium of the laser to the reflecting mirrors and back into the
medium of the laser with no loss. Where the light is polarized perpendicular to the plane
of incidence a large loss at the Brewster surface will take place due to the reflection out
of the medium of the laser. The preferred polarization case (linear polarization) will lase
(emit coherent light) that will account for the high degree of polarization taking place at
the output.
Figure 6.19 Schematic illustrating the use of Brewster windows in a gas discharge LASER

Output beam

Gas discharge
tube (plasma)

Brewster windows
External mirror
(totally reflecting)

External mirror
(partially reflecting)

The device in Figure 6.19 exhibits stimulated emission of radiation. For and example
lets say the mixture of gases are helium and neon. These gases are confined to the glass
tube sealed at both ends by mirrors. An oscillator is connected to the tube to that causes
electrons to sweep through the tube, colliding with atoms of gas and raising them to
exited states. Some neon atoms are excited to a higher state during this process that will
also result in a collision with excited helium atoms. Stimulated emission occurs as the
neon atoms make a transition to a lower state and neighboring excited atoms are
stimulated to emit at the same frequency and phase. This will result in a production of
coherent light.

## 6.7.3 Fiber Optics

Fiber optics deals with the transmission of light through small filamentary fibers called
dielectric waveguides. This is based on the phenomenon of total internal reflection
occurring at the point where the light is obliquely incident on an interface between two
media with different refractive indexes at an angle greater than the critical angle. Light is
incident at an angle i as shown in Figure 6.20 and is required to determine the range of
values of the index of refraction n so the internal reflections will occur for any value of
i.

## Notes by: Debbie Prestridge

38

Snells Law of refraction is the relationship between i and t as the wave enter the fiber is
sin i
2
1

n
(6.27)
sin t
1
If 2 is suppose to be larger than c , then

## sin 2 = cos t sin c

(6.28)

Refraction from fiber to air sin c = 1/n, therefore, from equation 6.27 & 6.28
2
1
1
sin2 i
n
n

(6.29)

Solve for n,
n 2 1 sin 2 i

requiring
n2 2

or

(6.30)

n

## Most types of glass have n 1.5; therefore, we have a valid equation.

Reflected point
Smallest critical angle

t 2

Figure 6.20 Schematic illustrating the principle of light propagation in optical fibers.

39