Abstract

Electromagnetic activity of a single, subwavelength helix is explored under transverse illumination with terahertz electromagnetic pulses. By measuring the phase accrual difference between right- and left-circularly polarized components of the pulse transmitted through a series of identically shaped helices, where sections of each helix have been systematically removed, a linear relationship is discovered between the electromagnetic activity of a helix and its thickness in the propagation direction of the electromagnetic wave. A single helix is thus shown to possess intrinsic electromagnetic activity, describable by an effective circular birefringence.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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