## Abstract

Modern optical diagnostics for quantitative characterization of polydisperse sprays and other aerosols which contain a wide range of droplet size encounter difficulties in the dense regions due to the multiple scattering of laser radiation with the surrounding droplets. The accuracy and efficiency of optical measurements can only be improved if the radiative transfer within such polydisperse turbid media is understood. A novel Monte Carlo code has been developed for modeling of optical radiation propagation in inhomogeneous polydisperse scattering media with typical drop size ranging from 2 *μm* to 200 *μm* in diameter. We show how strong variations of both particle size distribution and particle concentration within a 3D scattering medium can be taken into account via the Monte Carlo approach. A new approximation which reduces ~20 times the computational memory space required to determine the phase function is described. The approximation is verified by considering four log-normal drop size distributions. It is found valid for particle sizes in the range of 10–200 *μm* with increasing errors, due to additional photons scattered at large angles, as the number of particles below than 10 *μm* increases. The technique is applied to the simulation of typical planar Mie imaging of a hollow cone spray. Simulated and experimental images are compared and shown to agree well. The code has application in developing and testing new optical diagnostics for complex scattering media such as dense sprays.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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