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A new approach to vector scattering: The 3S boundary source method

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journal contribution
posted on 28.10.2019, 10:01 by Jeremy CouplandJeremy Coupland, Nikolay Nikolaev
© 2019 OSA - The Optical Society. All rights reserved. This paper describes a novel Boundary Source Method (BSM) applied to the vector calculation of electromagnetic fields from a surface defined by the interface between homogenous, isotropic media. In this way, the reflected and transmitted fields are represented as an expansion of the electric fields generated by a basis of orthogonal electric and magnetic dipole sources that are tangential to, and evenly distributed over the surface of interest. The dipole moments required to generate these fields are then calculated according to the extinction theorem of Ewald and Oseen applied at control points situated at either side of the boundary. It is shown that the sources are essentially vector-equivalent Huygens’ wavelets applied at discrete points at the boundary and special attention is given to their placement and the corresponding placement of control points according to the Nyquist sampling criteria. The central result of this paper is that the extinction theorem should be applied at control points situated at a distance d = 3s (where s is the separation of the sources) and consequently we refer to the method as 3sBSM. The method is applied to reflection at a plane dielectric surface and a spherical dielectric sphere and good agreement is demonstrated in comparison with the Fresnel equations and Mie series expansion respectively (even at resonance). We conclude that 3sBSM provides an accurate solution to electromagnetic scattering from a bandlimited surface and efficiently avoids the singular surface integrals and special basis functions proposed by others.


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/R028842/1).



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Published in

Optics Express






30380 - 30395


OSA Publishing


VoR (Version of Record)

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This is an Open Access Article. It is published by OSA Publishing under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Prof Jeremy Coupland Deposit date: 26 October 2019