Abstract

We investigate the effect on wave propagation of array packing and electromagnetic coupling between spheres in a three-dimensional (3D) lattice of microspheres with large permittivity that exhibit strong magnetic polarizability. We report on the complex wavenumber of Bloch waves in the lattice when each sphere is assumed to possess both electric and magnetic dipoles and full electromagnetic coupling is accounted for. While for small material-filling fractions we always determine one dominant mode with low attenuation constant, the same does not happen for large filling fractions, when electromagnetic coupling is included. In the latter case we peculiarly observe two dominant modes with low attenuation constant, dominant in different frequency ranges. The filling fraction threshold for which two dominant modes appear varies for different metamaterial constituents, as proven by considering spheres made by either titanium dioxide or lead telluride. As further confirmation of our findings, we retrieve the complex propagation constant of the dominant mode(s) via a field fitting procedure employing two sets of waves (direct and reflected) pertaining to two distinct modes, strengthening the presence of the two distinct dominant modes for increasing filling fractions. However, given that one mode only, with transverse polarization, at any given frequency, is dominant and able to propagate inside the lattice, we are able to accurately treat the metamaterial that is known to exhibit artificial magnetism as a homogeneous material with effective parameters, such as the refractive index. Results clearly show that the account of both electric and magnetic scattering processes in evaluating all electromagnetic intersphere couplings is essential for a proper description of the electromagnetic propagation in lattices.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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