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Noncausal time response in frustrated total internal reflection?

Carey, J.J. and Zawadzka, J. and Jaroszynski, D.A. and Wynne, K. (2000) Noncausal time response in frustrated total internal reflection? Physical Review Letters, 84 (7). pp. 1431-1434. ISSN 0031-9007

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Abstract

Tunneling of photons in frustrated total internal reflection has been studied in the time domain with single-cycle femtosecond pulses. It is seen that both the phase and energy of the pulse travel faster than the speed of light in vacuum. Theoretical analysis of the experiments shows that the time-response function for electromagnetic waves propagating in the air gap is noncausal. However, it is found that superluminal signal propagation is not possible in this case because of the inevitable diffractive spreading of the signal beam.