Abstract

We use a recent computer implementation of the first-principles theory of electromagnetic scattering to compute far-field extinction by a spherical particle embedded in an absorbing unbounded host. Our results show that the suppressing effect of increasing absorption inside the host medium on the ripple structure of the extinction efficiency factor as a function of the size parameter is similar to the well-known effect of increasing absorption inside a particle embedded in a nonabsorbing host. However, the accompanying effects on the interference structure of the extinction efficiency curves are diametrically opposite. As a result, sufficiently large absorption inside the host medium can cause negative particulate extinction. We offer a simple physical explanation of the phenomenon of negative extinction consistent with the interpretation of the interference structure as being the result of interference of the field transmitted by the particle and the diffracted field due to an incomplete wavefront resulting from the blockage of the incident plane wave by the particle’s geometrical projection.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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