Abstract

The mirror-like reflection image of the road surface under grazing-angle scattering can be easily observed in daily life. It was suggested that road surface mirages may occur due to a light-enhancing effect of the rough surface under grazing-angle scattering. The main purpose of this work is to explain the light-enhancing mechanism of rough surfaces under grazing-angle scattering. The off-specular reflection from a random rough magnesium oxide ceramic surface is analyzed by using the geometric optics approximation method. Then, the geometric optics approximation method is employed to develop a theoretical model to predict the observation effect of the grazing-angle scattering phenomenon of the road surface. The rough surface is assumed to consist of small-scale rough surface facets. The road surface mirage is reproduced from a large number of small-scale rough surface facets within the eye’s resolution limit at grazing scattering angles, as the average bidirectional reflectance distribution function value at the bright location is about twice that of the surface in front of the mirage. It is suggested that the light-enhancing effect of the rough surface under grazing-angle scattering is not proper to be termed as “off-specular reflection,” since it has nothing to do with the “specular” direction with respect to the incident direction.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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