Dynamic light-scattering techniques provide noninvasive probes of diverse media, such as colloidal suspensions, granular materials, or foams. In homodyne photon correlation spectroscopy, the dynamical properties of the medium are extracted from the intensity autocorrelation g<sup>(2)</sup>(τ) of the scattered light by means of the Siegert relation g<sup>(2)</sup>(τ)=1+|〈E(0)E<sup>*</sup>(τ)〉|<sup>2</sup>/〈EE<sup>*</sup>〉<sup>2</sup>. This approach is unfortunately limited to systems where the electric field is a Gaussian random variable and thus breaks down when the scattering sites are few or correlated. We propose to extend the traditional analysis by introducing intensity correlation functions g<sup>(n)</sup> of higher order, which allow us both to detect non-Gaussian scattering processes and to extract information not available in g<sup>(2)</sup> alone. The g<sup>(n)</sup> are experimentally measured by a combination of a commercial correlator and a custom digital delay line. Experimental results for g<sup>(3)</sup> and g<sup>(4)</sup> are presented for both Gaussian and non-Gaussian light-scattering processes and compared with theoretical predictions.
© 1999 Optical Society of America
(030.0030) Coherence and statistical optics : Coherence and statistical optics
(120.2920) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Homodyning
(290.5820) Scattering : Scattering measurements
(300.0300) Spectroscopy : Spectroscopy
P.-A. Lemieux and D. J. Durian, "Investigating non-Gaussian scattering processes by using nth-order intensity correlation functions," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 16, 1651-1664 (1999)