We introduce a simple theoretical model that describes the interaction of light with optical metamaterials in terms of interfering optical plane waves. In this model, a metamaterial is considered to consist of planar arrays of densely packed nanoparticles. In the analysis, each such array reduces to an infinitely thin homogeneous sheet. The transmission and reflection coefficients of this sheet are found to be equal to those of an isolated nanoparticle array and, therefore, they are easy to evaluate numerically for arbitrary shapes and arrangements of the particles. The presented theory enables fast calculation of electromagnetic fields interacting with a metamaterial slab of an arbitrary size, which, for example, can be used to retrieve the effective refractive index and wave impedance in the material. The model is also shown to accurately describe optically anisotropic metamaterials that in addition exhibit strong spatial dispersion, such as bifacial metamaterials.
- optical metamaterials