Maxwell’s equations are applied in this chapter to investigate the behavior of electromagnetic plane waves propagation in unbounded homogeneous media. The behavior of electromagnetic waves propagating in a homogeneous medium is determined by its electrical properties (permittivity, permeability, and conductivity) and the operating frequency. General formulas for electromagnetic field components and basic characteristics such as loss tangent, attenuation constant, phase constant, propagation constant, intrinsic impedance, phase velocity, wavelength, and skin depth are derived for an arbitrary medium assuming plane wave propagation. These general formulas are used to study the behavior of uniform plane waves propagating in lossless dielectrics, lossy dielectrics, and good conducting media. Moreover, the concepts of wave polarization and group velocity are also discussed in this chapter. The topics of the chapter are supported by numerous illustrative examples and figures in addition to solved problems and homework problems at the end of the chapter.
Keywords: Attenuation constant, circular polarization, elliptical polarization, group velocity, intrinsic impedance, linear polarization, loss tangent, phase constant, phase velocity, propagation constant, skin depth, wave polarization.