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Visualizing coherent light with an electromagnetic wave simulator

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3 Author(s)
S. A. Boothroyd ; Inst. for Inf. Technol., Nat. Res. Council of Canada, Ottawa, Ont., Canada ; L. Chan ; W. M. Robertson

Computer modeling of electromagnetic waves provides numerical data that can be used for dynamic visualization of electromagnetic phenomena via the computer screen. The Electromagnetic Wave Simulator is a commercial software package which uses the transmission line matrix method to represent electromagnetic fields. This software can be applied effectively in teaching and understanding optics where phenomena such as reflection, refraction, total internal reflection, interference between two coherent beams, and the confinement of light in a waveguide can be demonstrated through computer-generated display of the electromagnetic wave. A student may make simple changes to the program, such as the value of the refractive index at an interface, and “see”, i.e. visualize the effect on the light propagation. The computer animation which the authors have produced is illustrated here with selected frames together with a description of the optical behavior being simulated

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Education  (Volume:39 ,  Issue: 1 )