Two choices are possible for the refractive index of a linear, homogeneous, isotropic, active, dielectric material. Either of the choices is adequate for obtaining frequency–domain solutions for (i) scattering by slabs, spheres, and other objects of bounded extent; (ii) guided–wave propagation in homogeneously filled, cross–sectionally uniform, straight waveguide sections with perfectly conducting walls; and (iii) image formation due to flat lenses. The correct choice does matter for the half–space problem, but that problem is not realistic.
©2007 Optical Society of America
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