An accurate creeping ray-tracing algorithm is presented in this paper to determine the tracks of creeping waves (or creeping rays) on arbitrarily shaped free-form parametric surfaces [nonuniform rational B-splines (NURBS) surfaces]. The main challenge in calculating the surface diffracted fields on NURBS surfaces is due to the difficulty in determining the geodesic paths along which the creeping rays propagate. On one single parametric surface patch, the geodesic paths need to be computed by solving the geodesic equations numerically. Furthermore, realistic objects are generally modeled as the union of several connected NURBS patches. Due to the discontinuity of the parameter between the patches, it is more complicated to compute geodesic paths on several connected patches than on one single patch. Thus, a creeping ray-tracing algorithm is presented in this paper to compute the geodesic paths of creeping rays on the complex objects that are modeled as the combination of several NURBS surface patches. In the algorithm, the creeping ray tracing on each surface patch is performed by solving the geodesic equations with a Runge–Kutta method. When the creeping ray propagates from one patch to another, a transition method is developed to handle the transition of the creeping ray tracing across the border between the patches. This creeping ray-tracing algorithm can meet practical requirements because it can be applied to the objects with complex shapes. The algorithm can also extend the applicability of NURBS for electromagnetic and optical applications. The validity and usefulness of the algorithm can be verified from the numerical results.
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