Tunneling effects in electromagnetic wave scattering by nonspherical particles: A comparison of the Debye series and physical-geometric optics approximations Academic Article uri icon


  • 2015 Elsevier Ltd. The accuracy of the physical-geometric optics (PG-O) approximation is examined for the simulation of electromagnetic scattering by nonspherical dielectric particles. This study seeks a better understanding of the tunneling effect on the phase matrix by employing the invariant imbedding method to rigorously compute the zeroth-order Debye series, from which the tunneling efficiency and the phase matrix corresponding to the diffraction and external reflection are obtained. The tunneling efficiency is shown to be a factor quantifying the relative importance of the tunneling effect over the Fraunhofer diffraction near the forward scattering direction. Due to the tunneling effect, different geometries with the same projected cross section might have different diffraction patterns, which are traditionally assumed to be identical according to the Babinet principle. For particles with a fixed orientation, the PG-O approximation yields the external reflection pattern with reasonable accuracy, but ordinarily fails to predict the locations of peaks and minima in the diffraction pattern. The larger the tunneling efficiency, the worse the PG-O accuracy is at scattering angles less than 90. If the particles are assumed to be randomly oriented, the PG-O approximation yields the phase matrix close to the rigorous counterpart, primarily due to error cancellations in the orientation-average process. Furthermore, the PG-O approximation based on an electric field volume-integral equation is shown to usually be much more accurate than the Kirchhoff surface integral equation at side-scattering angles, particularly when the modulus of the complex refractive index is close to unity. Finally, tunneling efficiencies are tabulated for representative faceted particles.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Bi, L., & Yang, P.

citation count

  • 16

complete list of authors

  • Bi, Lei||Yang, Ping

publication date

  • July 2016