The Ewald: Oseen Extinction Theorem

Masud Mansuripur

When a beam of light enters a material medium, it sets in motion the resident electrons, whether these electrons are free or bound. The electronic oscillations in turn give rise to electromagnetic radiation which, in the case of linear media, possesses the frequency of the exciting beam. Because Maxwell's equations are linear, one expects the total field at any point in space to be the sum of the original (exciting) field and the radiation produced by all the oscillating electrons. In practice, however, the original beam appears to be absent within the medium, as though it had been replaced by a different beam, one having a shorter wavelength and propagating in a different direction.

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