OSA's Digital Library

Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Editor: James C. Wyant
  • Vol. 45, Iss. 27 — Sep. 20, 2006
  • pp: 7166–7173

Backscattering of light from disklike particles:is fine-scale structure or gross morphology more important?

Howard R. Gordon  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 45, Issue 27, pp. 7166-7173 (2006)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (587 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



The backscattering of light from disklike objects possessing periodic structures (e.g., resembling a wheel with spokes, hereafter called a pinwheel) or an object with a wavelength-sized deviation from a flat disk (e.g., a spherical cap) has been computed by using the discrete dipole approximation. The disks ranged in diameter from 1.5 to 2.7 μm with thicknesses from 0.04 to 0.15 μm . The goal of the study was to obtain some understanding of the differences between the backscattering of a collection of such objects in random orientation and a collection of randomly oriented homogeneous disks of the same size, i.e., the conditions under which the gross morphology (e.g., disklikeness) of these objects determines their backscattering. The computations for pinwheels showed that their backscattering cross sections were nearly identical to those of homogeneous disks of similar size (but with reduced effective refractive indices that are easily estimated) as long as the maximum separations between the spokes was less than one quarter of the wavelength. In this regime the backscattering is totally governed by the particle's gross morphology and effective index. For larger spoke separation, departures from a homogeneous disk are observed and manifest as significant increases (many times) in backscattering. In the case of spherical caps with the same projected area as the associated disk, the computations again show a complete similarity in their backscattering, and when the disks are sufficiently thin (with thickness divided by wavelength < 0.15 to 0.25 ) there is very little difference between the backscattering of a cap and the associated disk.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(010.4450) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Oceanic optics
(290.1350) Scattering : Backscattering

Original Manuscript: March 9, 2006
Manuscript Accepted: April 20, 2006

Virtual Issues
Vol. 1, Iss. 10 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

Howard R. Gordon, "Backscattering of light from disklike particles: is fine-scale structure or gross morphology more important?," Appl. Opt. 45, 7166-7173 (2006)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. H. R. Gordon and A. Y. Morel, Remote Assessment of Ocean Color for Interpretation of Satellite Visible Imagery: A Review (Springer, 1983).
  2. P. M. Holligan, M. Viollier, D. S. Harbour, P. Camus, and M. Champagne-Philippe, "Satellite and ship studies of coccolithophore production along the continental shelf edge," Nature 304, 339-342 (1983). [CrossRef]
  3. W. M. Balch, P. M. Holligan, S. G. Ackleson, and K. J. Voss, "Biological and optical properties of mesoscale coccolithophore blooms in the Gulf of Maine," Limnol. Oceanogr. 34, 629-643 (1991).
  4. W. M. Balch, K. Kilpatrick, P. M. Holligan, D. Harbour, and E. Fernandez, "The 1991 coccolithophore bloom in the central north Atlantic II: relating optics to coccolith concentration," Limnol. Oceanogr. 41, 1684-1696 (1996).
  5. T. J. Smyth, G. F. Moore, S. B. Groom, P. E. Land, and T. Tyrrell, "Optical modeling and measurements of a coccolithophore bloom," Appl. Opt. 41, 7679-7688 (2002).
  6. W. M. Balch, H. R. Gordon, B. C. Bowler, D. T. Drapeau, and E. S. Booth, "Calcium carbonate measurements in the surface global ocean based on moderate-resolution imaging spectraradiometer data," J. Geophys. Res. 110C, C07001 (2005), doi:. [CrossRef]
  7. H. R. Gordon and T. Du, "Light scattering by nonspherical particles: application to coccoliths detached from Emiliania huxleyi," Limnol. Oceanogr. 46, 1438-1454. (2001).
  8. P. Chylek, G. Videen, J. W. Geldart, J. S. Dobbie, and H. C. W. Tso, "Effective medium approximations for heterogeneous particles," in Light Scattering by Nonspherical Particles, M.I.Mishchenko, J.W.Hovenier, and L.D.Travis, eds. (Academic, 2000) pp. 273-308.
  9. H. A. Lorentz, "Über die Beziehung zwischen del' Fortpflanzungsgeschwindigkeit des Lichtes und del' Lorperdichte," Ann. Phys. Chem. 9, 641-665 (1880).
  10. L. Lorenz, "Über die Refractionconstante," Ann. Phys. Chem. 11, 70-103 (1880).
  11. J. C. Maxwell-Garnett, "Colours in metal glasses and metallic films," Philos. Trans. R. Soc. London , Ser. A 203, 385-420 (1904).
  12. D. A. G. Bruggeman, "Berechnung vershiedener physikalischer Konstanten von heterogenen Substanzen. 1. Dielektrizitatskonstanten und Leitfahigkeiten del' Mischkoper aus isotropen Substanzen," Ann. Phys. 24, 636-664 (1935).
  13. B. T. Draine, "The discrete-dipole approximation and its application to interstellar graphite grains," Astrophys. J. 333, 848-872 (1988). [CrossRef]
  14. B. T. Draine and P. Flatau, "Discrete-dipole approximation for scattering calculations," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 11, 1491-1499 (1994).
  15. B. T. Draine, "The discrete-dipole approximation for light scattering by irregular targets," in Light Scattering by Nonspherical Particles, M.I.Mishchenko, J.W.Hovenier, and L.D.Travis, eds. (Academic, 2000) pp. 131-145.
  16. M. I. Mishchenko and L. D. Travis, "Capabilities and limitations of a current FORTRAN implementation of the T-matrix method for randomly oriented, rotationally symmetric scatterers," J. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transf. 60, 7206-7225 (1998). [CrossRef]

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited