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J Microsc. 2008 Mar;229(Pt 3):452-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2818.2008.01927.x.

Caustics in a field negatively refracted at a plane interface.

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1
Photonic Processes Department, Institute of Physics, Prospect Nauki 46, Kiev 03028, Ukraine. shend@iop.kiev.ua

Abstract

An electromagnetic field radiated by a line source situated near a plane interface between a medium with positive refractive index and a medium with negative refractive index is considered by using the geometrical optics approach. Rays and wave fronts of the refracted field are constructed using Fermat's principle. It is shown that the negatively refracted rays intersecting in pairs create 2-fold caustics that meet at a cusp point. The cusp of the caustic is directed towards the interface for |n| > 1 and away from the interface for |n| < 1, where n is the relative refractive index. It is also shown that wave fronts of the refracted field propagate towards the interface, in the direction from negative to positive optical path lengths.

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