16Electromagnetic Waves

Recall two of the Maxwell’s equations for source‐free media:

These equations state that time variations of the magnetic and electric fields give rise to space variations of the electric and magnetic fields, respectively. This interdependence of the space and time variations gives rise to the electromagnetic wave propagation.

In general, electric and magnetic fields have three non‐zero components, each of them being a function of all three coordinates and time. That is,


In the following discussion we will focus on a simple and very useful type of wave: the uniform plane wave. Uniform plane waves not only serve as a building block in the study of electromagnetic waves but also support the study of wave propagation on transmission lines and wave radiation by antennas (Paul, 2006, p. 909).

16.1 Uniform Waves – Time Domain Analysis

To derive the uniform plane wave equations we will use the two Maxwell’s equations (16.1) and (16.2). To this end, we first need to make two assumptions: (1) we need to choose the direction of either the electric field ...

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