In our common understanding, for strong absorption or amplification in a slab structure, the desire of reducing the slab thickness seems contradictory to the condition of small loss or gain. In this paper, this common understanding is challenged. It is shown that an arbitrarily thin metamaterial layer can perfectly absorb or giantly amplify an incident plane wave at a critical angle when the real parts of the permittivity and permeability of the metamaterial are zero while the absolute imaginary parts can be arbitrarily small. The metamaterial layer needs a totally reflective substrate for perfect absorption, while this is not required for giant magnification. Detailed analysis for the existence of the critical angle and physical explanation for these abnormal phenomena are given. © 2011 Optical Society of America.
Bibliographical noteThis paper was published in Optics Express and is made available as an electronic reprint with the permission of OSA. The paper can be found at the following URL on the OSA website: http://www.opticsinfobase.org/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-19-12-11114. Systematic or multiple reproduction or distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.
- Physical optics
- Thin films