Applied Physics B

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 231–246

Optics of Floquet-Bloch waves in dielectric gratings

  • P. St. J. Russell
Contributed Papers

DOI: 10.1007/BF00697490

Cite this article as:
Russell, P.S.J. Appl. Phys. B (1986) 39: 231. doi:10.1007/BF00697490


The behavior of light in dielectric gratings is discussed in terms of the optical Floquet-Bloch waves (or modes). The emphasis is on the development of a good physical understanding of the nature of these waves, using the wavevector diagram to summarize their spatial dispersion and spectra. It is shown that Floquet-Bloch theory offers some advantages conceptually over the commonly used coupled-wave theory, because the rays of the Floquet-Bloch waves (given by their group velocities) play the same role in a periodic medium as do those of plane waves in isotropic or graded-index media. The effect on power conservation of truncating the Floquet expansions for the Floquet-Bloch waves is considered in detail. Using the greater intuitive power of Floquet-Bloch theory, it is shown (in contrast to recent claims to the contrary) how rigorous coupled-wave theory can be applied to symmetrical reflection gratings, and secondly how the light in these gratings can be viewed in terms of the multiple-beam interference of Floquet-Bloch waves, leading to behavior reminiscent of a low-finesse Fabry-Perot cavity.


42.10 42.80 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. St. J. Russell
    • 1
  1. 1.T. J. Watson Research CenterIBMYorktown HeightsUSA