A Beam Tracing Model for Electromagnetic Scattering by Atmospheric Ice Crystals
Taylor, Laurence Charles
While exact methods, such as DDA or T-matrix, can be applied to particles withsizes comparable to the wavelength, computational demands mean that they are size limited. For particles much larger than the wavelength, the Geometric Optics approximation can be employed, but in doing so wave effects, such as interference and diffraction, are ignored. In between these two size extremes there exists a need for computational techniques which are capable of handling the wide array of ice crystal shapes and sizes that are observed in cirrus clouds. The Beam Tracing model developed within this project meets these criteria. It combines aspects of geometric optics and physical optics. Beam propagation is handled by Snell’s law and the law of reflection. A beam is divided into reflected and transmitted components each time a crystal facet is illuminated. If the incident beam illuminates multiple facets it is split, with a new beam being formed for each illuminated facet. The phase-dependent electric field amplitude of the beams is known from their ampli- tude (Jones) matrices. These are modified by transmission and reflection matrices, whose elements are Fresnel amplitude coefficients, each time a beam intersects a crystal facet. Phase tracing is carried out for each beam by considering the path that its ‘centre ray’ would have taken. The local near-field is then mapped, via a surface integral formulation of a vector Kirchhoff diffraction approximation, to the far-field. Once in the far-field the four elements of the amplitude matrix are trans- formed into the sixteen elements of the scattering matrix via known relations. The model is discussed in depth, with details given on its implementation. The physical basis of the model is given through a discussion of Ray Tracing and how this leads to the notion of Beam Tracing. The beam splitting algorithm is described for convex particles followed by the necessary adaptations for concave and/or ab- sorbing particles. Once geometric aspects have been established details are given as to how physical properties of beams are traced including: amplitude, phase and power. How diffraction is implemented in the model is given along with a review of existing diffraction implementations. Comparisons are given, first against a modified Ray Tracing code to validate the geometric optics aspects of the model. Then, specific examples are given for the cases of transparent, pristine, smooth hexagonal columns of four different sizes and orientations; a highly absorbing, pristine, smooth hexagonal column and a highly absorbing, indented, smooth hexagonal column. Analysis of two-dimensional and one-dimensional intensity distributions and degree of linear polarisation results are given for each case and compared with results acquired through use of the Amster- dam Discrete-Dipole Approximation (ADDA) code; with good agreement observed. To the author’s best knowledge, the Beam Tracer developed here is unique in its ability to handle concave particles; particles with complex structures and the man- ner in which beams are divided into sub-beams of quasi-constant intensity when propagating in an absorbing medium. One of the model’s potential applications is to create a database of known particle scattering patterns, for use in aiding particle classification from images taken by the Small Ice Detector (SID) in-situ probe. An example of creating such a database for hexagonal columns is given.