Abstract

The intensity of light scattered by an air bubble in water is predicted by the geometric-optics calculation of Davis (1955) to have a divergent angular derivative as the critical scattering angle ϕc is approached. Effects of diffraction in the angular region near ϕc are described here. The Fraunhofer diffraction for scattering angles ϕϕc is estimated using a simplified physical-optics approximation. A ringing and decay of the far-field intensity is predicted that is formally similar to the near-field diffraction of a straight edge. Observation of millimeter radius bubbles in water with collimated monochromatic illumination confirm the existence of this ringing which has a quasi period ≃ 25 mrad. The diffraction calculation gives an approximate description of the relative ϕ of the observed maxima and minima. Fringes with a lower contrast and spacing ≃ 0.3 mrad were also observed; they appear to be caused by the interference of rays with distinct paths. Implications for the critical angle scattering of white light are discussed.

© 1979 Optical Society of America

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