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Opt Express. 2008 Feb 4;16(3):1903-14.

Amplified total internal reflection: theory, analysis, and demonstration of existence via FDTD.

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  • 11Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


The explanation of wave behavior upon total internal reflection from a gainy medium has defied consensus for 40 years. We examine this question using both the finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method and theoretical analyses. FDTD simulations of a localized wave impinging on a gainy half space are based directly on Maxwell's equations and make no underlying assumptions. They reveal that amplification occurs upon total internal reflection from a gainy medium; conversely, amplification does not occur for incidence below the critical angle. Excellent agreement is obtained between the FDTD results and an analytical formulation that employs a new branch cut in the complex "propagation-constant" plane.

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