Effects of spatial coherence on the angular distribution of radiant intensity generated by scattering on a sphere

Phys Rev Lett. 2010 Apr 30;104(17):173902. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.104.173902. Epub 2010 Apr 30.


In the analysis of light scattering on a sphere it is implicitly assumed that the incident field is spatially fully coherent. However, under usual circumstances the field is partially coherent. We generalize the partial waves expansion method to this situation and examine the influence of the degree of coherence of the incident field on the radiant intensity of the scattered field in the far zone. We show that when the coherence length of the incident field is comparable to, or is smaller than, the radius of the sphere, the angular distribution of the radiant intensity depends strongly on the degree of coherence. The results have implications, for example, for scattering in the atmosphere and colloidal suspensions.