Data on the course

Show instruction and examinations
PAP316 Astrophysical light scattering problems, 5 cr 
Code PAP316  Validity 01.01.2017 -
Name Astrophysical light scattering problems  Abbreviation Astrophysical l 
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.

Module where the course belongs to:

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

The course is available to students from other degree programmes.


Recommended time for completion is after Electromagnetic Scattering I.

The course is offered in the autumn in period I every other year.

Learning outcomes 

The course Electromagnetic Scattering II offers an introduction and theoretical foundation for elastic electromagnetic scattering by complex random media of particles, in other words, for multiple electromagnetic scattring. As compared to the wavelength, the media can span from a few wavelengths onwards to the scale of thousands of wavelengths. As to the geometry of the media, media composed of both spherical and nonspherical particles are treated. Finally, the course includes practical application of existing multiple-scattering software in both laptop and supercomputing environments to interpret spectroscopic, photometric, and polarimetric observations in astronomy as well as scattering measurements in the laboratory.

Completion methods 

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


Electromagnetic Scattering I

Recommended optional studies 

Small Bodies in the Solar System


The course entitled Electromagnetic Scattering II starts by the introduction of the radiative transfer transfer equation (RTE) for electromagnetic radiation, both including and excluding the polarization. Various numerical solvers are presented for the RT with special emphasis on novel Monte Carlo methods for complex geometries of discrete random media.

Thereafter, the derivation of the RTE from the Maxwell equations is presented, with an introduction to coherent and incoherent electromagnetic fields. In this context, the Superposition T-matrix method (STMM), an exact solver for the Maxwell equations, is presented in detail to allow for comparisons between radiative-transfer-type and exact multiple-scattering methods. This is followed by the introduction of Monte Carlo multiple-scattering methods for close-packed discrete random media of particles.

Finally, the course includes practical applications of the multiple-scattering methods to the interpretation of astronomical observations and laboratory scattering measurements.

During the course, students prepare and present short oral contributions on topics of relevance for light scattering. Additionally, each student acts as an opponent for another student.

Study materials and literature 

Set reading:

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

M. I. Mishchenko, Electromagnetic Scattering by Particles and Particle Groups, An introduction, Cambridge University Press, 2014

Supplementary reading:

S. Chandrasekhar, Radiative Transfer, Dover, New York, 1960

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
No examinations in WebOodi
You may enter WebOodi: