Publication # 198

R. Piestun and D. A. B. Miller, "Degrees of Freedom of an Electromagnetic Wave," 18th Congress of the International Commission for Optics: Optics for the Next Millennium,, San Francisco, California, August 1999. Paper [3749-50]. SPIE Vol. 3749, pp110-111 (1999)

We present a formalism for evaluating the degrees of freedom (d.o.f.) in the communication with electromagnetic waves. We show that, although in principle there are an infinity of d.o.f., the effective number is finite. This is in agreement with the restricted classical theories. We further show that the best transmitting functions are the solutions of a specific eigenvalue equation. The analysis is valid for electromagnetic waves under arbitrary boundary conditions communicating between domains in 3D space.

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