School of Mathematics

EPSRC grant awarded

Tom Mackay has been awarded an EPSRC overseas travel grant, "Voigt Waves in Bianisotropic Materials". This award will further develop the collaboration with Professor Lakhtakia, Pennsylvania State University, who is a world leading expert on the electromagnetics of complex materials.

Voigt-wave propagation represents an unusual form of electromagnetic plane-wave propagation that is supported by certain anisotropic dielectric materials. It may be distinguished from the usual form of plane-wave propagation, as encountered in standard textbooks on electromagnetics and optics, on the basis of rate of amplitude decay. That is, the decay of Voigt waves exhibits a linear dependency on propagation distance whereas in the usual case of plane-wave propagation there is exponential decay with propagation distance. Bianisotropic materials offer much greater scope for Voigt-wave propagation than do anisotropic materials, because of the intrinsic coupling between electric and magnetic fields and the much larger constitutive parameter space that is associated with bianisotropic materials. Conditions for Voigtwave propagation will be derived for certain types of physically-realizable bianisotropic materials. These bianisotropic materials will take the form of engineered materials that arise from the homogenization of relatively simple component materials that may not themselves support Voigt-wave propagation. Furthermore, the prospects of controlling the directions in which Voigt waves propagate by means of an applied DC electric field will be investigated for certain bianisotropicmaterials arising from electro-optic component materials. The prospects of harnessing Voigt waves in bianisotropic materials for optical sensing application will also be investigated. In addition, the prospects of realizing Voigt waves which exhibit a linear gain in amplitude with propagation distance will be investigated for certain bianisotropic materials arising from active component materials.