Applicability of effective medium description to photonic crystals in higher bands: Theory and numerical analysis

Abstract : We consider conditions under which photonic crystals (PCs) can be homogenized in the higher photonic bands and, in particular, near the $\Gamma$-point. By homogenization we mean introducing some effective local parameters $\epsilon_{\rm eff}$ and $\mu_{\rm eff}$ that describe reflection, refraction and propagation of electromagnetic waves in the PC adequately. The parameters $\epsilon_{\rm eff}$ and $\mu_{\rm eff}$ can be associated with a hypothetical homogeneous effective medium. In particular, if the PC is homogenizable, the dispersion relations and isofrequency lines in the effective medium and in the PC should coincide to some level of approximation. We can view this requirement as a necessary condition of homogenizability. In the vicinity of a $\Gamma$-point, real isofrequency lines of two-dimensional PCs can be close to mathematical circles, just like in the case of isotropic homogeneous materials. Thus, one may be tempted to conclude that introduction of an effective medium is possible and, at least, the necessary condition of homogenizability holds in this case. We, however, show that this conclusion is incorrect: complex dispersion points must be included into consideration even in the case of strictly non-absorbing materials. By analyzing the complex dispersion relations and the corresponding isofrequency lines, we have found that two-dimensional PCs with $C_4$ and $C_6$ symmetries are not homogenizable in the higher photonic bands. We also draw a distinction between spurious $\Gamma$-point frequencies that are due to Brillouin-zone folding of Bloch bands and ``true'' $\Gamma$-point frequencies that are due to multiple scattering. Understanding of the physically different phenomena that lead to the appearance of spurious and ``true'' $\Gamma$-point frequencies is important for the theory of homogenization.
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Vadim Markel, Igor Tsukerman. Applicability of effective medium description to photonic crystals in higher bands: Theory and numerical analysis. Physical Review B : Condensed matter and materials physics, American Physical Society, 2016, 93 (22), pp.224202 ⟨10.1103/PhysRevB.93.224202⟩. ⟨hal-01282090v2⟩



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