Abstract

A comprehensive sensitivity study has been made using Mie theory to determine the effect of realistic variations in values of real and imaginary parts of the complex index of refraction on volume extinction and absorption coefficients for a wide range of log normal particle size distributions (defined by geometric mean radius rg and geometric standard deviation σg). Wavelengths λ from the visible (0.55 μm) through the middle ir (10.6 μm) were considered. Extinction is independent of the complex index to within 20% for the majority of realistic particle size distributions, providing λ<˜2μm. However, changes in extinction by up to an order of magnitude are caused by realistic variations in refractive indexes for 2 μm ≤ λ ≤ 10.6 μm, with the real index being more important in affecting extinction than the imaginary index. Similar changes are caused by variations in particle size distribution for values of refractive indexes typical of atmospheric constituents. For bimodal size distributions representative of desert aerosols, values of the complex refractive index that result in minimum and maximum extinction coefficients are given. Absorption is generally less dependent on size distribution than is extinction and is not, in general, linear with the imaginary index, especially for broad particle distributions.

© 1978 Optical Society of America

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