EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 446, Number 2, February I 2006
Page(s) 525 - 535
Section Interstellar and circumstellar matter
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20053727
A&A 446, 525-535 (2006)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20053727

Experimental and computational study of light scattering by irregular particles with extreme refractive indices: hematite and rutile

O. Muñoz1, H. Volten2, J. W. Hovenier2, M. Min2, Y. G. Shkuratov3, J. P. Jalava4, W. J. van der Zande5 and L. B. F. M. Waters2, 6

1  Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, CSIC, Camino Bajo de Huétor 50, Granada 18008, Spain
    e-mail: olga@iaa.es
2  Astronomical Institute "Anton Pannekoek", University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
3  Institute of Astronomy, Kharkov National University, 35 Sumskaya St., Kharkov 61022, Ukraine
4  Kemira Pigments Oy, Titaanitie 1, 28840 Pori, Finland
5  Institute for Molecules and Materials, Radboud University Nijmegen, PO Box 9010, 6500 GL Nijmegen, The Netherlands
6  Instituut voor Sterrenkunde, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200B, 3001 Heverlee, Belgium

(Received 29 June 2005 / Accepted 1 August 2005 )

We present measurements of the complete scattering matrix as a function of the scattering angle of randomly oriented irregular hematite and rutile particles. The measurements were made at a wavelength of 632.8 nm in the scattering angle range from 5-174 degrees. Apart from their astronomical interest, these two samples are extremely interesting from a theoretical point of view, because they both have high real parts of the refractive index (about 3.0 for the hematite and 2.73 for the rutile). In addition, the hematite sample has a high imaginary part of the refractive index k, with values between 10-1 and 10-2, whereas rutile is a non-absorbing material ( $k\approx 0$) at the studied wavelength. The scattering patterns of these mineral particles are quite similar to each other but show remarkable differences when compared to the results obtained for irregular mineral particles with moderate real parts of the refractive index. The measured results for both samples were compared with results of Mie calculations for projected surface equivalent spheres and T-matrix calculations for various spheroidal and cylindrical shapes. Both the experimental and theoretical results presented in this work seem to indicate that the scattering behavior of irregular mineral particles that have a high real part of the refractive index is not very dependent on the shape of the particles. In this case, Mie theory may give reasonable results despite the irregular shapes of the particles.

Key words: solar system: general -- scattering -- polarization -- dust, extinction

© ESO 2006