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Plane Electromagnetic wave

  1. Oct 6, 2008 #1
    A simple question

    How can one talk of a Plane Electromagnetic wave, when it moves within 3 dimensions, i.e. E and B?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 6, 2008 #2

    Andy Resnick

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    A "plane wave" is taken to mean a propogating electromagnetic wave that has flat planes as surfaces of constant phase. This implies that the direction of propogation is in a single direction (normal to the planes). As such, a plane wave is a nonphysical idealization of real electromagnetic waves which diffract.
     
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