Zitterbewegung of optical pulses near the Dirac point inside a negative-zero-positive index metamaterial

Li Gang Wang*, Zhi Guo Wang, Shi Yao ZHU

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


By numerically solving Maxwell's equation with boundary conditions, we have demonstrated the optical Zitterbewegung effect by means of electromagnetic pulses propagating through a negative-zero-positive index metamaterial (NZPIM). We find that a finite pulse with frequencies near the Dirac point of the NZPIM diffuses and oscillates, and its output pulse from the finite NZPIM slab becomes an oscillating pulse with a characteristic frequency independent of the slab thickness. We further find that the oscillating properties of the optical Zitterbewegung effect are strongly dependent on the pulse parameters: such as pulse duration and pulse transverse spatial width. The physical nature of such oscillation effects is due to the interference between the upper and lower high-transmittance passbands at both sides of the Dirac point of the NZPIM slab, which is similar to the Zitterbewegung of electron wave packets.

Original languageEnglish
Article number47008
JournalEurophysics Letters
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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