Waves in composites and metamaterials/Maxwell equations in media

The content of these notes is based on the lectures by Prof. Graeme W. Milton (University of Utah) given in a course on metamaterials in Spring 2007.

Maxwell's Equations in Media edit

The time-dependent Maxwell's equations in media (in the absence of any internal sources of magnetic induction) can be written as


where   is electric field,   is the magnetic induction,   is the magnetic field intensity,   is the electric displacement field due to the movement of bound charges,   is the free current density, and   is the free charge density. The vector   represents the position in space and   is the time.

We can derive the equation for the conservation of charge by taking the divergence of equation (2) to get


The primary variables in the above equations are   and  . The quantities   and   are obtained through the constitutive relations


where   is the rank 2 magnetic permeability tensor of free space,   is the permittivity tensor,   is the magnetization vector, and   is the polarization vector. The magnetization vector   measures the net magnetic dipole moment per unit volume. This dipole is associated with electron or nuclear spins. The polarization vector   measures the net electric dipole moment per unit volume and is caused by the close proximity of two charges of opposite sign. A point electric dipole is obtained when the distance between two charges tends to zero.

Artificial Magnetic Materials (Metamaterials) edit

A clear definition of metamaterials does not exist yet. Some authors define metamaterials as those whose properties depend strongly on the geometry of the microstructure but appear not to depend on the properties of the constituents. This definition is not accurate because the effective properties of metamaterials do depend on the properties of the constituents as they must. Another definition is that metamaterials are those materials whose properties do not reflect everyday experience such as negative refractive indexes or negative Poisson's ratios. A more accurate definition can be based on the the fact that many of the properties of metamaterials are due to specific resonances. One such example is stained glass where the resonance of gold particles in the glass gives the glass a red tint.

The fact that artificial magnetic materials may be created from relatively non-magnetic materials was first briefly hinted by Shelkunoff and Friis ([Shelku52], pp. 584-585). The idea was developed in more detail by Pendry and coworkers [Pendry99].

In that work, split ring resonators were used to develop a magnetic material containing non-magnetic components. A schematic of the split ring resonator is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Split ring resonator.

If the magnetic field intensity   is time-dependent and the magnetization vector   is zero, then


Therefore, there is a non-zero electric field around the loop which implies that there is a current in the split ring. Now if we place a parallel plate capacitor in the gap, charges build up in the capacitor and the current oscillates back and forth in the ring as the field   changes. The result is that the ring resonates and the net magnetic dipole moment   becomes non-zero.

It is not clear how   should be defined and whether Maxwell's equation should be modified. Avoiding these issues for the moment, we assume that

  1. The free current density ( ) arises only from conduction currents arising from the response of the medium and not from beams of charged particles.
  2. In the far distant past ( ) all field are zero.





Taking the divergence of (3) and using the conservation of charge, we get


Therefore, we can write Maxwell's equations in terms of   as


This reduction reflects the fact that it is difficult to distinguish the free current density   from currents arising from the electric displacement field through  .

To complete the system of equations (4), we need relations between the fields  ,  ,  , and  . Some further assumptions need to be made at this point:

  1. We assume that only   is coupled with   and that   is only coupled with  . This is a good approximation for many stationary materials. But more generally there is cross coupling between these quantities, for example, in biisotropic and bianisotropic materials.
  2. We assume that the relations between   and  , and   and   are linear.
  3. The net magnetic dipole moment   (and hence the magnetic field  ) cannot depend on future values of  . This is the principle of causality.
  4. The free current density   (and hence the electric displacement field  ) cannot depend on future values of  .
  5. The materials are at rest and their properties do not depend upon time.

Therefore, using superposition, we may write


where   and   are rank-2 tensor valued kernel functions. These kernel functions may be singular (such as delta functions) and the integrals should be interpreted in the sense of measure theory under such conditions.

We further assume that equations (5) can be approximated as being local in space (this is true for poor conductors but may fail for good conductors due to Debye screening.) This implies that the kernel functions can be chosen in such a way that the integration over space at each point evaluates to 1 and we can write


Note that in Fourier space the above convolutions turn into products. Also, the limits of integration have been changed to go from   to   because the kernel functions have been chosen such that


Next, let us assume that all the fields depend harmonically on time (we can treat more general fields by linear superposition). Then


(treating   as having an infinitesimally small imaginary part so that the fields are zero at  ).

Plugging the solutions in equation (7) into equations (4), we can get new expressions for the Maxwell's equations in terms of the amplitudes of the harmonic fields. Thus, we have




Similarly, plugging the equations (7) into equations (6), we get (using  )






In general   and   are complex, rank-2 tensor quantities. The integrals in equations (10) converge when the imaginary part of   is positive (since   when  ). [1] Now,   is an analytic function of  . Since a sum of analytic functions is analytic and a convergent integral of analytic functions is also analytic, the functions   and   are analytic functions of   in the upper half  -plane,  .

Substituting equations (9) into equations (8), and dropping the hats, we get


These are Maxwell equations at fixed frequency.

Footnotes edit

  1. To see this, observe that  .

References edit

J. B. Pendry, A. J. Holden, D. J. Robbins, and W. J. Stewart. Magnetism from conductors, and enhanced non-linear phenomena. IEEE Trans. Microwave Theory Tech., 47(11):2075--2084, 1999.

S. A. Shelkunoff and H. T. Friis. Antennas: Theory and Practice. Wiley, New York, 1952.