Abstract

We use the semiclassical limit of electromagnetic wave scattering theory to determine the properties of the exterior caustics of a diagonally incident plane wave scattered by an infinitely long homogeneous dielectric circular cylinder in both the near zone and the far zone. The transmission caustic has an exterior/interior cusp transition as the tilt angle of the incident beam is increased, and each of the rainbow caustics has a far-zone rainbow/exterior cusp transition and an exterior/interior cusp transition as the incident beam tilt angle is increased. We experimentally observe and analyze both transitions of the first-order rainbow. We also compare the predictions of the semiclassical approximation with those of ray theory and exact electromagnetic wave scattering theory.

© 2000 Optical Society of America

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