The effective medium refractive index of a surface-bound submonolayer of polystyrene nanospheres in water is found to be ill-defined below a rather specific sphere occupied area limit. The submonolayer takes on a recognizable thickness and refractive index only when the average center separation between spheres is at or below the inverse of the wavenumber. An anticipated limit to the Maxwell Garnett theory is therefore confirmed. It is proposed that this reveals a fundamental property of light scattering that is not of the Huygens spherical secondary wave type.
© 2013 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: May 10, 2013
Revised Manuscript: July 3, 2013
Manuscript Accepted: July 16, 2013
Published: August 8, 2013
Vol. 8, Iss. 9 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics
Graham Hugh Cross, "Fundamental limit to the use of effective medium theories in optics," Opt. Lett. 38, 3057-3060 (2013)