Impedance matching refers to the suppression of reflected radiation from an interface and is a concept that applies right across the electromagnetic spectrum. In particular it has come to prominence in relation to the propagation of light in metallic structures and associated meta-materials. Whilst established for microwaves and electrical circuits, this concept has only very recently been observed in the optical domain, yet is not well defined or understood. We present a framework to elucidate the concept of optical impedance. We describe using a scattering matrix approach the characteristic, iterative, image and wave impedances of an optical system. With a numerical model, we explore each form of impedance matching in metal-dielectric structures. Thin gold layers may extend the concept of Brewster's angle to normal incidence and s polarization. Optical impedance for recently realized metallic gold nano-pillars which has shown negative permeability is also explored and we show that current measurements are inconclusive to robustly state its characteristic impedance is matched to the vacuum.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics