Abstract

The interaction of a Gaussian laser beam with a particle that is located off axis is a fundamental problem encountered across many scientific fields, including biological physics, chemistry, and medicine. For spherical geometries, generalized Lorenz–Mie theory affords a solution of Maxwell’s equations for the scattering from such a particle. The solution can be obtained by expanding the laser fields in terms of vector spherical harmonics (VSHs). However, the computation of the VSH expansion coefficients for off-axis beams has proven challenging. In the present study, we provide a very viable, theoretical framework to efficiently compute the sought-after expansion coefficients with high numerical accuracy. We use the existing theory for the expansion of an on-axis laser beam and employ Cruzan’s translation theorems [Q. Appl. Math.20, 33 (1962)QAMAAY0033-569X] for the VSHs to obtain a description for more general off-axis beams. The expansion coefficients for the off-axis laser beam are presented in an analytical form in terms of an infinite series over the underlying translation coefficients. A direct comparison of the electromagnetic fields of such a beam expansion with the original laser fields and with results obtained using numerical quadratures shows excellent agreement (relative errors are on the order of ≲10−3). In practice, the analytical approach presented in this study has numerous applications, reaching from multiparticle scattering problems in atmospheric physics and climatology to optical trapping, sorting, and sizing techniques.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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