Rayleigh Scattering

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Rayleigh Scattering

Any scattering process produced by spherical particles whose radii are smaller than about one-tenth the wavelength of the scattered radiation. Compare Mie scattering. </dd>
In Rayleigh scattering, the scattering coefficient varies inversely with the fourth power of the wavelength, a relation known as the Rayleigh law. The angular intensity polarization relationships for Rayleigh scattering are conveniently simple. For particles not larger than the Rayleigh limit, there is complete symmetry of scattering about a plane normal to the direction of the incident radiation, so that the forward scatter equals the backward scatter. The Rayleigh scattering coefficient ks is

Missing Image:img src="SP7_r_files/rayscat.gif"

where n is the number of scatters of diameter d; m is the index of refraction; and λ is the wavelength of the radiation. </dd>


This article is based on NASA's Dictionary of Technical Terms for Aerospace Use