It is shown that the boundary conditions at left-handed material interfaces cause reversal in the propagation direction of the parallel-to-the-surface electromagnetic energy and momentum fluxes. First-principle examination excludes the possibility of induced surface wave excitation as a way of providing radiation momentum conservation. Thus the imparted net change in electromagnetic momentum should cause a recoil force parallel to the surface, which is unique to left-handed interfaces. The shear force exerted on a left-handed material interface is computed. The magnitude of this force is found detectable by experiments.
© 2006 Optical Society of America
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