Abstract

We investigated the limits of applicability of the interference approximation (ITA), which is often used to calculate light fields in dispersive media with high particle concentrations. We analyzed the conditions under which the use of the ITA leads to an error in calculation of the dispersive-medium extinction coefficient equal to 10%, 15%, and 25%. The analysis was carried out by comparing the values of calculated in the ITA with the results of the calculation of in a much more exact quasi-crystalline approximation (QCA). The validity of the QCA in estimating the error of the ITA is shown by comparing the values of calculated in the ITA and the QCA with experimental data [J. Opt. Soc. Am. 72, 1317 (1982)]. Our investigation shows that the ITA can be used only at relatively small values of the particle size parameter x. When the relative refractive index of the particles is n1.8, the applicability of the ITA is limited to the case in which the particle size parameter xxmax1.5. A decrease in n leads to an increase in xmax, and for nonabsorbing particles at n1.3, xmax is approximately proportional: 1/(n-1). An increase in the imaginary part of the relative refractive index of the particles κ leads to a decrease in xmax. The smaller the n, the greater the dependence of xmax on κ.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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