A new type of electromagnetic wave has been discovered

Electromagnetic surface waves guided by the planar interface of an isotropic dielectric medium and a uniaxial dielectric medium, both non dissipative, were considered, the optic axis of the uniaxial medium lying in the interface plane.

Whereas this interface is known to support the propagation of Dyakonov surface waves when certain constraints are satisfied by the constitutive parameters of the two partnering mediums we identified a different set of constraints that allow the propagation of surface waves of a new type.

The fields of the new surface waves, named Dyakonov Voigt (DV) surface waves, decay as the product of a linear and an exponential function of the distance from the interface in the anisotropic medium whereas the fields of the Dyakonov surface waves decay only exponentially in the anisotropic medium.

In contrast to Dyakonov surface waves, the wavenumber of a DV surface wave can be found analytically. Also, unlike Dyakonov surface waves, DV surface waves propagate only in one direction in each quadrant of the interface plane.

The scientists identified the waves’ unique properties using mathematical models that incorporated equations developed by renowned mathematician and physicist James Clerk Maxwell.

They also found that Dyakonov Voigt surface waves diminish as they move away from the interface a process called decay and travel only in a single direction.

Other types of surface waves decay more quickly and travel in multiple directions.

These phenomena could have a range of useful applications, such as improving biosensors used to screen blood samples or developing fiber optic circuits that transfer data more efficiently.

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