1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data As I understand it, the polarizability of a material is a measure of the tendency of the material to polarize when an electric field is applied across it. However, the polarizability can be both purely real and complex, and I'm not sure what a complex polarizability means physically. Does the imaginary part have something to do with some kind of damping, perhaps? Anyone who knows? Google didn't help me very much.