Departmental Papers (ESE)


Here, we analyze the transverse-magnetic (TM) wave interaction with a pair of slabs, one being an epsilon-negative (ENG) layer in which the real part of permittivity is assumed to be negative while its permeability has positive real part, and the other being a mu-negative (MNG) layer that has the real part of its permeability negative but its permittivity has positive real part. Although wave interaction with each slab by itself has predictable features, we show that the juxtaposition and pairing of such ENG and MNG slabs may, under certain conditions, lead to some unusual features, such as resonance, complete tunneling, zero reflection and transparency. The field distributions inside and outside such paired slabs are analyzed, and the Poynting vector distributions in such structures are studied. Using equivalent transmission-line models, we obtain the conditions for the resonance, complete tunneling and transparency, and we justify and explain the field behavior in these resonant paired structures. Salient features of the tunneling conditions, such as the roles of material parameters, slab thicknesses, dissipation, and angle of incidence are discussed. The analogy and correspondence between the ENG-MNG pair and the pair of a slab of conventional material juxtaposed with a “double-negative” medium is also discussed. Finally, a conceptual idea for a potential application of such a “matched” lossless ENG-MNG pair in “ideal” image displacement and image reconstruction is proposed.

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version



NOTE: At the time of publication, author Andrea Alù was affiliated with the University of Roma Tre. As of September 2006, she is a staff member in the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. Copyright © 2003 IEEE. Reprinted from IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, Vol. 51, No. 10, October 2003. Publisher URL:

This material is posted here with permission of the IEEE. Such permission of the IEEE does not in any way imply IEEE endorsement of any of the University of Pennsylvania's products or services. Internal or personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution must be obtained from the IEEE by writing to By choosing to view this document, you agree to all provisions of the copyright laws protecting it.


Double-negative material, left-handed material, metamaterial, negative index of refraction, negative permeability, negative permittivity, negative index material, transparency, tunneling, zero reflection



Date Posted: 14 October 2004

This document has been peer reviewed.