In absorbing media, electromagnetic plane waves are most often inhomogeneous. Existing solutions for the scattering of an inhomogeneous plane wave by a spherical particle provide no explicit expressions for the scattering components. In addition, current analytical solutions require evaluation of the complex hypergeometric function for every term of a series expansion. In this work, I develop a simpler solution based on associated Legendre functions with argument zero. It is similar to the solution for homogeneous plane waves but with new explicit expressions for the angular dependency of the far-field scattering components, that is, the phase function. I include recurrence formulas for practical evaluation and provide numerical examples to evaluate how well the new expressions match previous work in some limiting cases. The predicted difference in the scattering phase function due to inhomogeneity is not negligible for light entering an absorbing medium at an oblique angle. The presented theory could thus be useful for predicting scattering behavior in dye-based random lasing and in solar cell absorption enhancement.
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