The electromagnetic fields scattered when a plane wave is incident on an oblate spheroid in the side-on orientation may be calculated using a generalization of Mie theory, and the results may be decomposed in a Debye series expansion. A number of optical caustics are observed in the computed scattered intensity for the one internal reflection portion of the Debye series for scattering angles in the vicinity of the first-order rainbow, and are analyzed in terms of the rainbow, transverse cusp, and hyperbolic umbilic caustics of catastrophe optics. The specific features of these three caustics are described, as is their assembly into the global structure of the observed caustics for spheroid scattering. It is found that, for a spheroid whose radius is an order of magnitude larger than the wavelength of the incident light, the interference structure accompanying the transverse cusp and hyperbolic umbilic caustics is only partially formed.
© 2010 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: November 13, 2009
Revised Manuscript: January 27, 2010
Manuscript Accepted: January 29, 2010
Published: March 4, 2010
James A. Lock and Feng Xu, "Optical caustics observed in light scattered by an oblate spheroid," Appl. Opt. 49, 1288-1304 (2010)