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Phys Rev Lett. 2002 May 20;88(20):207403. Epub 2002 May 3.

Left-handed materials do not make a perfect lens.

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  • 1Laboratorio de Fisica de sistemas Pequeños, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Serrano 144, Madrid 28006, Spain.

Erratum in

  • Phys Rev Lett. 2003 Jun 6;90(22):229903.


By means of an analysis on evanescent waves in left-handed materials (LHM), we show that within a slab of such a medium, sandwiched between two positive refraction media, there is amplification of evanescent waves in ideal lossless, dispersiveless media; however, contrary to previous claims, this is limited to a finite width of the slab so that it prevents their restoration and perfect focusing. We illustrate this by considering their coupling to propagating waves through a tunnel barrier containing a slab of LHM. Further, we show that the effect of absorption, necessarily present in such materials, may drastically change any evanescent amplifying wave into a decaying one.

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