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Published January 1, 1961 | Published + Reprint
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Reflection and transmission of electromagnetic waves at electron density gradients


Solutions are obtained for the propagation of plane electromagnetic waves parallel to a gradient of free electron density, in the form of complex Airy functions. Reflection and transmission coefficients are derived for normal incidence on a linear "ramp" of electron density connecting a uniform dielectric gas with a uniform ionized gas, as functions of ramp length and propagation exponent of the latter. Machine evaluations of typical cases of physical interest are displayed and discussed. Similar study is made of two‐stage ramps of variable proportions, intended as second approximations to smooth profile transition zones. In each case, the reflection and transmission coefficients are found to depend strongly on ramp width over a range of several tenths of a wavelength, then to oscillate mildly toward the asymptotic values predicted from a WKB‐type approximation. The results are less sensitive to the detailed shape of the electron density profile. Propagation through a finite slab of ionized gas bounded on each side by such linear transition zones is formulated and evaluated for typical cases. Asymptotic approximations for the linear ramp problem are found to be inadequate to cover the entire range of interest. The neglect of variation in collision frequency through the transition is discussed and justified for a broad class of equilibrium profiles.

Additional Information

© 1961 American Institute of Physics. Received 10 October 1960. Online Publication Date: 11 June 2004. Work supported in part by the U. S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research. The authors acknowledge with thanks the help of Profs. J. Todd, W. D. Rannie, and F. E., Marble, and the staff of the Western Data Processing Center, U.C.L.A., on whose IBM 709 the calculations were performed.

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Published - JApplPhys_32_75_1_.pdf

Reprint - 114_Albini_FA_1961.pdf


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