Abstract

We examine backscattering by analyzing large nonspherical particles with flat surfaces for which where the size is much larger than the wavelength, using ray optics and diffraction theory. We show that the backscattering cross section for rectangles can be 1 order of magnitude larger than that for spheres with same geometrical cross sections, depending on the orientation of the particles. Then we show that there is a difficulty in estimating the backscattering cross section for hexagonal columns with the available solutions but that it is possible to estimate the integration of the differential scattering cross section over small solid angles in backward directions. The integral values for hexagonal columns are found to be more than 1 order of magnitude larger than that for spheres with the same volume. As an application, the use of power from hexagonal columns for lidar observations is analyzed. Unlike for spherical particles with their dependence on Z -2 (where Z is the distance between the particle and the detector), for nonspherical particles such dependence varies with the particles’ nonsphericity, such as shape and orientation: Z 0 for a hexagonal plate randomly oriented in the horizontal plane; Z -1 for a hexagonal column randomly oriented in the horizontal plane.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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