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Real component of the wavelength of microwaves in copper

  1. May 12, 2010 #1
    I am trying to work out the real component of the wavelength of microwaves in copper. I am given n2=er=-i sigma/eo omega

    where n is the refactive index
    er is the relative permitivity
    eo is the permitivity of free space
    i = sqrt(-1)
    omega is the frequency of the microwave
    sigma is the conductivity of copper

    I was approaching this by using n=kc/omega where k is the wavenumber and then c=f*wavelength but I am not sure about obtaining the real part of the refractive index as the whole value is multiplied by i?

    Any ideas or examples/links would be helpful.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 12, 2010 #2


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    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    For microwaves it really doesn't matter as the imaginary part is much much larger than the real part. The real part does become more significant as we go above microwaves and approach the plasma resonance of the metal. If you really want to find the real part, I would suggest finding the Drude model for copper that simulates it as having a plasma resonance. I do not know off hand what the constants are for copper in the model.
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