Abstract

A new treatment of the well-known Sommerfeld solution of the problem of plane-wave diffraction from a perfectly conducting half-plane is reported. We show, in both theory and experiment, that the diffraction field (E-polarization) can be represented as a superposition of real physically existing waves, in contrast to geometrical and boundary waves postulated in Sommerfeld’s representation. Our representation includes two pairs of wave components: one pair propagates along the direction of the incident wave, and the other in a mirror-reflected direction. Each wave pair consists of a plane-wave component with an amplitude half that of the incident wave and a nearly plane-wave component with an infinitely extended edge dislocation. On the basis of the proposed interpretation, all features of the half-plane diffraction are explained.

© 2000 Optical Society of America

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