Abstract

We have recently identified the resonant scattering from dielectric bispheres in the specular direction, which has long been known as the specular resonance, to be a type of rainbow (a caustic) and a general phenomenon for bispheres. We discuss the details of the specular resonance on the basis of systematic calculations. In addition to the rigorous theory, which precisely describes the scattering even in the resonance regime, the ray-tracing method, which gives the scattering in the geometrical-optics limit, is used. Specular resonance is explicitly defined as strong scattering in the direction of the specular reflection from the symmetrical axis of the bisphere whose intensity exceeds that of the scattering from noninteracting bispheres. Then the range of parameters for computing a particular specular resonance is specified. This resonance becomes prominent in a wide range of refractive indices (from 1.2 to 2.2) in a wide range of size parameters (from five to infinity) and for an arbitrarily polarized light incident within an angle of 40° to the symmetrical axis. This particular scattering can stay evident even when the spheres are not in contact or the sizes of the spheres are different. Thus specular resonance is a common and robust phenomenon in dielectric bispheres. Furthermore, we demonstrate that various characteristic features in the scattering from bispheres can be explained successfully by using intuitive and simple representations. Most of the significant scatterings other than the specular resonance are also understandable as caustics in geometrical-optics theory. The specular resonance becomes striking at the smallest size parameter among these caustics because its optical trajectory is composed of only the refractions at the surfaces and has an exceptionally large intensity. However, some characteristics are not accounted for by geometrical optics. In particular, the oscillatory behaviors of their scattering intensity are well described by simple two-wave interference models.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

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