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Opt Express. 2011 Feb 28;19(5):3881-9. doi: 10.1364/OE.19.003881.

250 years Lambert surface: does it really exist?

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  • 1Institut for Lasertechnologien in der Medizin und Messtechnik, Ulm, Germany.


The time-honored Lambert law is widely applied for describing the angle resolved reflectance from illuminated turbid media. We show that this law is only exactly fulfilled for a very special set of geometrical and optical properties. In contrast to what is believed so far, we demonstrate theoretically and experimentally that huge deviations from the Lambert law are ubiquitous. This finding is important for many applications such as those in biomedical optics.

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