In the recent researches of subwavelength relief gratings, the effective refractive indices are used for calculating the coefficients of reflection and transmission of light waves. The effective refractive indices are given by the effective medium theory for light waves propagating in a bulky stratified medium. This paper describes the ability and limitation of the theory applied to estimate the performance of such subwavelength gratings. The limitation is revealed by numerical calculations using a rigorous electromagnetic grating theory and the effective medium theory. As a result, an understanding of the wave behavior in the subwavelength grating has been acquired, which explains the limitation of the effective medium theory.
artificial refractive indexeffective medium theoryeffective refractive indexdiffraction gratingsubwavelength grating