For decades, the surface-plasmon-polariton wave guided by the interface of simple isotropic materials dominated the scene. However, in recent times research on electromagnetic surface waves guided by planar interfaces has expanded into new and exciting areas. In the 1990's research focused on advancing knowledge of the newly discovered Dyakonov wave. More recently, much of the surface wave research is motivated by the proliferation of nanotechnology and the growing number of materials available with novel properties. This book leads the reader from the relatively simple surface-plasmon-polariton wave with isotropic materials to the latest research on various types of electromagnetic surface waves guided by the interfaces of complex materials enabled by recent developments in nanotechnology. This includes: Dyakonov waves guided by interfaces formed with columnar thin films, Dyakonov-Tamm waves guided by interfaces formed with sculptured thin films, and multiple modes of surface-plasmon-polariton waves guided by the interface of a metal and a periodically varying dielectric material.

Key Features

  • Gathers research from the past 5 years in a single comprehensive view of electromagnetic surface waves.
  • Written by the foremost experts and researchers in the field.
  • Layered presentation explains topics with an introductory overview level up to a highly technical level.


Students and researchers in Optical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Physics, Biochemistry, Chemistry and Pharmacology.

Table of Contents

1. Surface Waves

1.1 Introduction

1.2 A Brief History

1.3 Simple SPP Wave

1.4 Dielectric Materials

1.5 Negative-Phase-Velocity Materials

1.6 Bianisotropic Materials

1.7 Taxonomy of Electromagnetic Surface Waves

1.8 Applications

2. Surface-Plasmon-Polariton Waves I

2.1 Introduction

2.2 Canonical Boundary-Value Problem

2.3 Optical Excitation of Simple SPP Waves

2.4 Nonlinear Dielectric Materials

3. General Theory of Surface-Wave Propagation

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Bianisotropic Materials

3.3 Propagation in a Homogeneous Bianisotropic Material

3.4 Propagation in a Periodically Nonhomogeneous Bianisotropic Material

3.5 Canonical Boundary-Value Problem

3.6 Modified Canonical Boundary-Value Problem

3.7 Prism-Coupled Configuration

3.8 Grating-Coupled Configuration

4. Dyakonov Waves

4.1 Introduction

4.2 Interface of an Anisotropic Material and an Isotropic Material

4.3 Interface of Two Anisotropic Materials

4.4 Nanostructured Materials

4.5 Electro-Optic Materials

4.6 Magnetic Analogs

4.7 More Exotic Materials

4.8 Experimental Observation

4.9 Outlook

5. Tamm Waves

5.1 Introduction

5.2 Canonical Boundary-Value Problem

5.3 Practical Configurations

5.4 Interface of Two Periodically Nonhomogeneous Dielectric Materials

5.5 Outlook

6 Surface-Plasmon-Polariton Waves II

6.1 Introduction

6.2 Interface of a Metal and an Isotropic Dielectric Multilayer

6.3 Interface of a Metal and a Homogeneous Anisotropic Dielectric Material

6.4 Interface of a Metal and a Continuously and Periodically Nonhomogeneous


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© 2013
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About the authors

John Polo

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Physics and Technology, Edinboro University, Edinboro, PA, USA

Tom Mackay

Affiliations and Expertise

School of Mathematics, University of Edinburgh, UK

Akhlesh Lakhtakia

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA


"Polo, Mackay, and Lakhtakia present this niche text on electromagnetic surface waves…The text relies heavily on advanced mathematics, and several mathematical appendices are included."--Reference & Research Book News, October 2013