Scattering: Regular

About regular scattering
  • Regular scattering of light refers to the predictable deviation and deflection of light rays when they pass through or reflect off smooth and transparent surfaces.
  • Regular scattering takes place when:
    • Parallel rays of light reflect off a curved surface like a convex or concave mirror. In this case, regular scattering creates a magnified or reduced distortion-free reflection.
    • Parallel rays of incident light are deflected by objects like raindrops and prisms that have smooth surfaces and transparent interiors.
  • Regular scattering is frequently accompanied by chromatic dispersion, which separates white light into its constituent spectral colours.
  • Chromatic dispersion refers to the way that light, under certain conditions, separates into its component wavelengths and the colours corresponding with each wavelength produce a rainbow effect.
  • On a microscopic level, all types of scattering follow the laws of reflection and refraction (Snell’s law).

Let’s consider 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.