Optical tunneling by arbitrary macroscopic three-dimensional objects Academic Article uri icon


  • 2015 American Physical Society. Electromagnetic wavefront portions grazing or nearly grazing the surface of a macroscopic particle contribute to the extinction of the incident radiation through a tunneling process similar to the scenario of barrier penetration in quantum mechanics. The aforesaid tunneling contribution, referred to as the edge effect, is critical to a correct depiction of the physical mechanism of electromagnetic extinction. Although an analytical solution for the edge effect in the case of a sphere has been reported in the literature, the counterparts for nonspherical particles remain unknown. The conventional curvature-based formalism of the edge effect breaks down in the case of faceted particles. This paper reports a method, based on the invariant imbedding principle and the Debye expansion technique, to accurately quantify the edge effect associated with an arbitrarily shaped three-dimensional object. The present method also provides a rigorous capability to facilitate the validation of various empirical approximations for electromagnetic extinction. Canonical results are presented to illustrate optical tunneling for two nonspherical geometries.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Bi, L., Yang, P., Kattawar, G. W., & Mishchenko, M. I.

citation count

  • 9

complete list of authors

  • Bi, Lei||Yang, Ping||Kattawar, George W||Mishchenko, Michael I

publication date

  • July 2015