Abstract

Plasmon and polariton modes are derived for an ideal semi-infinite (half-space) plasma by using a general, unifying procedure based on the equation of motion of the polarization and the electromagnetic potentials. Known results are reproduced in a much more direct manner, and new ones are derived. The approach consists of representing the charge disturbances by a displacement field in the positions of the moving particles (electrons). The propagation of an electromagnetic wave in this plasma is treated by using the retarded electromagnetic potentials. The resulting integral equations are solved, and the reflected and refracted fields are computed, as well as the reflection coefficient. Generalized Fresnel relations are thereby obtained for any incidence angle and polarization. Bulk and surface plasmon–polariton modes are identified. As is well known, the field inside the plasma is either damped (evanescent) or propagating (transparency regime), and the reflection coefficient exhibits an abrupt enhancement on passing from the propagating regime to the damped one (total reflection).

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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