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The explanation of wave behavior upon total internal reflection from a gainy medium has defied consensus for 40 years. We examine this question using both the finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method and theoretical analyses. FDTD simulations of a localized wave impinging on a gainy half space are based directly on Maxwell's equations and make no underlying assumptions. They reveal that amplification occurs upon total internal reflection from a gainy medium; conversely, amplification doesdoi:10.1364/oe.16.001903 pmid:18542269 fatcat:3a6twwjhdfbnhld5hzhsklhkui