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Appl Opt. 2004 Aug 10;43(23):4611-24.

Comparison of Cartesian grid configurations for application of the finite-difference time-domain method to electromagnetic scattering by dielectric particles.

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  • 1Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-3150, USA.


Two grid configurations can be employed to implement the finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) technique in a Cartesian system. One configuration defines the electric and magnetic field components at the cell edges and cell-face centers, respectively, whereas the other reverses these definitions. These two grid configurations differ in terms of implication on the electromagnetic boundary conditions if the scatterer in the FDTD computation is a dielectric particle. The permittivity has an abrupt transition at the cell interface if the dielectric properties of two adjacent cells are not identical. Similarly, the discontinuity of permittivity is also observed at the edges of neighboring cells that are different in terms of their dielectric constants. We present two FDTD schemes for light scattering by dielectric particles to overcome the above-mentioned discontinuity on the basis of the electromagnetic boundary conditions for the two Cartesian grid configurations. We also present an empirical approach to accelerate the convergence of the discrete Fourier transform to obtain the field values in the frequency domain. As a new application of the FDTD method, we investigate the scattering properties of multibranched bullet-rosette ice crystals at both visible and thermal infrared wavelengths.

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