Rayleigh Was Right:
and Corrugated Interfaces
Alexandre V. Tishchenko
Lord Rayleigh theorized that the electromagnetic field in
a periodically corrugated interface is composed of waves
outgoing from the interface. A careful numerical analysis
suggests that this hypothesis is true well beyond the commonly
stated limit. Its potential for electromagnetic theory and
modelling has been overlooked for half a century.
ne of Lord Rayleigh’s profound intuitions was to assume that the elec-
tromagnetic field at a periodically corrugated interface can be represent-
ed on the basis of outgoing waves. Ever since the means for numerical
modeling became available in the 1960s, the Rayleigh hypothesis has been regarded
as an approximation at best, and the related method was put away like a museum
artifact. The time has come to revisit this powerful idea.
Thomas W. Mossberg
What the Rayleigh hypothesis is about
The Rayleigh hypothesis concerns the diffraction of light by a periodically corrugated interface between two homogeneous media. It simply states that the electromagnetic field in the corrugation is composed of waves outgoing from the interface.
There has been a long-standing debate in the optics community as to whether this
hypothesis is true or simply an approximation for shallow corrugations.