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PAP314 Introduction to light scattering, 5 cr 
Code PAP314  Validity 01.01.2017 -
Name Introduction to light scattering  Abbreviation Introduction to 
Scope5 cr   
TypeAdvanced studies
  GradingGeneral scale 
    Can be taken more than onceno
Unit Master's Programme in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences 

Target group 

Master’s Programme in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences is responsible for the course.

Modules where the course belong to:

  • PAP300 Advanced Studies in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences
    Optional for:
    1. Study Track in Astrophysical Sciences
  • ATM300 Advanced Studies in Atmospheric Sciences
    Optional for:
    1. Study Track in Meteorology

The course is available to students from other degree programmes.


The course is offered in the spring term, in IV period, every other year.

Learning outcomes 

Electromagnetic Scattering and Absorption" is the first advanced course on elastic electromagnetic scattering by arbitrary objects (usually called particles). As compared to the wavelength, the sizes of the objects can be small or large, or of the order of the wavelength.  As to the shape of the objects, the main emphasis is on spherical particles and, subsequently, on the so-called Mie scattering. The optical properties of the objects are typically described by the refractive index. During the course, the student will become familiar with the concepts of electromagnetic scattering and will learn how to use existing computer codes in astronomical and atmospheric applications.

Completion methods 

The course can also be taken individually with flexible timing after a discussion and planning session with the lecturers.


Theoretical astrophysics package in the B.Sc. programme for physical sciences.

Recommended optional studies 

Electromagnetic Scattering I & II


In the beginning, classical electromagnetics is reviewed, intrododucing the Maxwell equations. Then follows the necessary framework for the classical scattering theory with the definitions for the Stokes parameters and Mueller matrices, as well as for the 2 x 2 scattering amplitude matrix and the 4 x 4 scattering matrix.

During the first three weeks, an introduction is offered to homogeneous plane waves, Fresnel reflection and refraction on a planar interface, as well as Mie scattering. During the second three weeks, the Rayleigh approximation (sphere and spheroid), the Rayleigh-Gans approximation, and the effective media approximation are assessed. Finally, applications are introduced in astronomy and radar meteorology.

The project and the exercises on the course will concern ray optics, Mie scattering, comparison of Rayleigh and Mie scattering in terms of applicability range, basic polarisation variables from the Rayleigh spheroid, and effective media approximation (scattering from snowflakes or melting particles, for example).

Towards the end of the course, the student will learn about the free existing softwares for scattering by nonspherical particles, such as the Amsterdam Discrete-Dipole Approximation code ADDA and the Superposition T-Matrix Method code MSTM (Multiple-Sphere T-Matrix).

Study materials and literature 

Set reading:

K. Muinonen, Electromagnetic Scattering I, Lecture Notes, 2012 (latest draft)

C. F. Bohren & D. R. Huffman, Absorption and Scattering of Light by Small Particles, Wiley & Sons, 2010

J. D. Jackson, Classical Electrodynamics, Wiley & Sons, 1998

Supplementary reading:

H. C. van de Hulst, Light Scattering by Small Particles, Wiley & Sons, 1957 (Dover, 1981)

M. I. Mishchenko, J. W. Hovenier, \& L. D. Travis, Light Scattering by Nonspherical Particles, Academic Press, 2000

M. I. Mishchenko, L. D. Travis & A. A. Lacis, Scattering, Absorption, and Emission of Light by Small Particles, Cambridge University Press, 2002

A. Doicu, Y. Eremin & T. Wriedt, Acoustic & Electromagnetic

Scattering Analysis Using Discrete Sources, Academic Press, 2000

Activities and teaching methods in support of learning 

The course is composed of exercises, a project, and a final exam.

Assessment practices and criteria 

The grading scale for accepted outcomes is 1-5 based on the final exam and the bonus points obtained from the exercises and the project work.


Current and future instruction
No instruction in WebOodi

Future examinations
Functions Name Type cr Teacher Schedule
cancelled Introduction to light scattering  General Examination  Dmitry Moiseev,
Karri Muinonen 
05.06.20fri 10.00-14.00
Registration Introduction to light scattering  General Examination  Dmitry Moiseev,
Karri Muinonen 
14.08.20fri 10.00-14.00
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