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Opt Lett. 2009 Feb 1;34(3):374-6.

Fermat's principle and the formal equivalence of local light-ray rotation and refraction at the interface between homogeneous media with a complex refractive index ratio.

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Department of Physics and Astronomy, Faculty of Physical Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.


We derive a formal description of local light-ray rotation in terms of complex refractive indices. We show that Fermat's principle holds, and we derive an extended Snell's law. The change in the angle of a light ray with respect to the normal of a refractive index interface is described by the modulus of the refractive index ratio; the rotation around the interface normal is described by the argument of the refractive index ratio.

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