Abstract

Dynamic light-scattering techniques provide noninvasive probes of diverse media such as colloidal suspensions, granular materials, and foams. Traditional analysis relies on the Gaussian properties of the scattering process found in most experimental situations and uses second-order intensity-correlation functions. This approach fails in the presence of, among other things, the collective intermittent dynamics found in systems such as granular materials. By extending the existing formalism and introducing higher-order intensity-correlation functions, we show how to detect and quantify the intrinsic dynamics and switching statistics of intermittent processes. We then explore two systems: (1) an auger-driven granular column for which the granular dynamics are controlled and the formalism is tested and (2) a granular heap whose dynamics are a priori unknown but may, now, be characterized.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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