Abstract

The scattering far zone for light transmitted through a sphere following p-1 internal reflections by a family of near-grazing incident rays is subdivided into a lit region and a shadow region. The sharpness of the ray theory transition between the lit and the shadow regions is smoothed in wave theory by radiation shed by electromagnetic surface waves. It is shown that when higher-order terms in the physical optics approximation to the phase of the partial-wave scattering amplitudes are included, the transition between the lit and the shadow regions becomes a two-ray-to-zero-ray transition, called a superweak caustic in analogy to the more familiar scattering caustics and weak scattering caustics. One of the merged rays is a tunneling ray.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

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