Abstract

We address the general issue of resolving the wave vector in complex electromagnetic media including negative refractive media. This requires us to make a physical choice of the sign of a square root imposed merely by conditions of causality. By considering the analytic behavior of the wave vector in the complex plane, it is shown that there are a total of eight physically distinct cases in the four quadrants of two Riemann sheets.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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