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Accuracy of the scalar approximation in computations of diffuse and coherent...

Mishchenko, M., and J. M. Dlugach (2008), Accuracy of the scalar approximation in computations of diffuse and coherent backscattering by discrete random media, Physical Review A, 78, 063822, doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.78.063822.

We use numerically exact computer simulations of multiple scattering in physically realistic models of sparse discrete random media to quantify the errors of the scalar approximation (SA) in computations of coherent backscattering (CB) assuming that the incident light is unpolarized. We show that while the SA errors in the diffuse backscattered intensity are often small, those in the CB enhancement factor can reach 25% and often exceed 20%. We attribute this to the fact that the computation of the enhancement factor involves all diagonal elements of the diffuse backscattering Stokes matrix rather than only its 1, 1 element. Therefore, the coherent enhancement of backscattered intensity appears to be the result of a complex interplay of various polarization effects involved in the process of multiple scattering. Thus our numerical data make a strong case against the use of the SA in theoretical computations of CB in the case of unpolarized incident light.

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Radiation Science Program (RSP)