Scattering: Regular

About regular scattering
  • Regular scattering happens when light bounces off a smooth, curved surface in a predictable way, creating a clear and undistorted image.
  • Think about a spoon in a glass of water. The smooth, curved surface of the spoon predictably bends the light, making the spoon appear slightly bent or magnified. This is an example of regular scattering.
  • Regular scattering often occurs when parallel rays of light hit smooth, transparent objects like raindrops or prisms. In these cases, the light bends (refracts) in a predictable way depending on the angle it hits the object and the materials involved.
  • This predictable bending can sometimes separate white light into its component colours, creating a rainbow effect known as chromatic dispersion.
  • On a microscopic level, all types of scattering follow the laws of reflection and refraction (Snell’s law).
  • Let’s look at two cases of regular scattering in more detail:
    • When parallel rays of light with a single wavelength strike and enter an object like a raindrop or prism, their path depends on the initial point of impact, the refractive indices of air and water, and the object’s surface properties.
    • When parallel rays of incident light with a single wavelength meet the curved surface of a transparent medium at various points, the different angles at which they strike the surface and experience deflection mainly determine how they scatter as they exit the medium.