A theoretical and numerical study is made of the scattering of light and other electromagnetic waves from rough surfaces separating vacuum from a dielectric. The extinction theorem, both above and below the surface, is used to obtain the boundary values of the field and its normal derivative. Then we calculate the angular distribution of the ensemble average of intensity of the reflected and transmitted fields. The scattering equations are solved numerically by generating one-dimensional surface profiles through a Monte Carlo method. The effect of roughness σ and correlation distance T on the aforementioned angular distribution, as well as on the reflectance, is analyzed. Enhanced backscattering and new transmission effects are observed, also depending on the permittivity. The ratio σ/T is large in all cases studied, and thus no analytical approximation, such as the Kirchhoff approximation (KA) and small perturbation methods, could a priori be expected to hold. We find, however, that the range of validity of the KA can be much broader than that previously found in perfect conductors.
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