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Quantization Of Evanescent Electromagnetic Waves

C. Carniglia, L. Mandel
Published 1971 · Physics

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The problem of the quantization of evanescent waves, which appear in the angular spectrum representation of the electromagnetic field in a half-space, is discussed. Although evanescent waves are associated with material sources, scatterers, etc., we are able to treat the electromagnetic field, including the evanescent waves, effectively as a free field, by making use of the idea of the refractive index of a passive, macroscopically continuous medium. We consider a space which is filled with a homogeneous dielectric to the left of the plane $z=0$, and is empty to the right of the plane. Triplets of incident, reflected, and transmitted waves at the interface form the fundamental orthogonal modes of the space. By expanding the field in terms of these triplet modes, we show that the field Hamiltonian reduces to the sum of independent harmonic-oscillator Hamiltonians. The quantization is therefore straightforward. We introduce the creation and annihilation operators for the triplet wave modes, and encounter Fock states, coherent states, etc., for a field having evanescent wave components. The field commutator at two space-time points in the right half-space is shown to have an explicit contribution from evanescent waves, characterized by an exponential decay to the right and a propagation parallel to the interface. We also examine the problem of atomic excitation by quantized evanescent waves, and show that the results are of the form given by semiclassical treatments.



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