We report what we believe to be the first rigorous numerical solution of the two-dimensional Maxwell equations for optical propagation within, and scattering by, a random medium of macroscopic dimensions. Our solution is based on the pseudospectral time-domain technique, which provides essentially exact results for electromagnetic field spatial modes sampled at the Nyquist rate or better. The results point toward the emerging feasibility of direct, exact Maxwell equations modeling of light propagation through many millimeters of biological tissues. More generally, our results have a wider implication: Namely, the study of electromagnetic wave propagation within random media is moving toward exact rather than approximate solutions of Maxwell’s equations.
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