An exact geometric-optics approach for computing the optical properties of large absorbing particles Academic Article uri icon


  • Based on the principles of geometric optics, the ray-tracing technique has been extensively used to compute the single-scattering properties of particles whose sizes are much larger than the wavelength of the incident wave. However, the inhomogeneity characteristics of internal waves within an absorbing particle, which stem from a complex index of refraction, have not been fully taken into consideration in the geometric ray-tracing approaches reported in the literature for computing the scattering properties of absorbing particles. In this paper, we first demonstrate that electromagnetic fields associated with an absorbing particle can be decomposed into the TE and TM modes. Subsequently, on the basis of Maxwell's equations and electromagnetic boundary conditions for the TE-mode electric field and the TM-mode magnetic field, we derive generalized Fresnel reflection and refraction coefficients, which differ from conventional formulae and do not involve complex angles. Additionally, a recurrence formulism is developed for the computation of the scattering phase matrix of an absorbing particle within the framework of the conventional geometric ray-tracing method. We further present pertinent numerical examples for the phase function and the degree of linear polarization in conjunction with light scattering by individual absorbing spheres, and discuss the deviation of the geometric optics solutions from the exact Lorenz-Mie results with respect to size parameter and complex refractive index. 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer

author list (cited authors)

  • Yang, P., & Liou, K. N

publication date

  • January 1, 2009 11:11 AM