Abstract

The class of causal negative index media is identified and analyzed through the development of a conceptual framework relying on polar paths and zero-pole placements of rational functions. In particular, necessary conditions on the refractive index function n(ω) toward the achievement of Ren<0 with Imn=0 are found. The requirement of causality necessitates either significant loss/gain in some frequency bands or steep variation in n immediately below or above the observation frequency. A particular system demonstrating negative refraction with arbitrarily small loss/gain for all frequencies through steep variation in n is analyzed.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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