M. I. Dyakonov
Laboratoire Charles Coulomb, Université Montpellier, CNRS, Montpellier, France
By “surface waves” one means a special kind of waves that propagate at the interface between two different media. There exists a large variety of such waves, which are interesting on their own, and sometimes have also practical importance and technological applications. This article presents a brief and nonexhaustive review of this vast subject, designed as an introduction to the field for nonspecialists. Similarities between surface waves of completely different origin are outlined. I am concerned with the physical picture and avoid math as strongly as possible (no differential equations and no boundary conditions), as well as many interesting details. Sometimes I omit numerical coefficients. My own contributions to this field are also presented.
It should be understood that the material in each section of this article is a subject of many books and hundreds, if not thousands, of journal publications, which the interested reader should address for more information.
These are certainly the first kind of surface waves that mankind has encountered. However, our prehistoric ancestors did not yet realize that waves are characterized by the frequency ω and the wave vector k = 2π/λ, where λ is the wavelength. The relation between ω and k is called the dispersion law. We now establish the dispersion laws for water waves from considerations ...