1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Homework Help: Normal incidence on 2 dielectric boundaries

  1. May 6, 2015 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    I've not been able to do this question for years so I'd really appreciate some help.

    Light is normaly incident from a medium 1 with impedance Z1 through a layer of medium 2 of thickness L and impedance Z2 into medium 3 of impedance Z3. Obtain an expression for the total reflected intensity of light when the thickness corresponds to:
    a) λ2/4
    b) λ2/2

    where λ2 is the wavelength of the light in medium 2.

    2. Relevant equations
    I know that the tangential components of the E and B fields are continuous over the boundaries so at each interface:

    E1f + E1b = E2f +E2b = E3f
    H1f + H1b = H2f +H2b = H3f

    where f and b signify forward and backward going waves

    Also, E1f/H1f = Z1
    And E1b/H1b = -Z1

    I know how to do this for the one boundary problem where you get r = (Z2 - Z1)/(Z1+Z2) and t = 2Z2/(Z2+Z1) But I can't apply it to the first boundary as now there's a wave coming the other way being reflected from the second boundary. It all seems intractably complicated but I know this is a fairly standard problem, so I'm finding it really frustrating.

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I don't really even know how to start. The wave in the middle material will bounce back and forwards seemingly infinitely and I don't know how to deal with that. I've just said in the middle there's the sum of a forward going and a backward going wave. I don't really know if the equations above are right for the middle section.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 6, 2015 #2


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    You find the answer in any book about thin film optics. Vasicek, Heavens fro example. Or Knittel https://archive.org/details/OpticsOfThinFilms.
    If you have still problems, I write about it later.
    All the multiple reflected waves add up to a wave travelling forward and an other, travelling backward. You can set up the relation between the waves in front of an interface and behind that interface, and also at the two boundaries of a medium. All these relationship can be written in matrix from.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted