Cremonesi L, Minnai C, Ferri F, Parola A, Paroli B, Sanvito T & Potenza MAC
Journal of Nanoparticle Research volume 22, Article number: 344 (2020)
ABSTRACT: The influence of the internal structure of inhomogeneous particles on their radiative properties is an open issue repeatedly questioned in many fields of science and technology. The importance of a refined description of the particle composition and structure, going beyond mean-field approximations, is generally recognized. Here, we focus on describing internal inhomogeneities from a statistical point of view. We introduce an analytical description based on the two-point density-density correlation function, or the corresponding static structure factor, to calculate the extinction cross sections. The model agrees with numerical predictions and is validated experimentally with colloidal aggregates in the 0.3–6 μm size range, which serve as an inhomogeneous model system that can be characterized enough to work without any free parameters. The model can be tightly compared to measurements with single particle extinction and scattering and spectrophotometry and suggests a simple behavior for 90° scattering from fractal aggregates as a function of extinction, which is also confirmed experimentally and numerically. We also discuss the case of absorbing particles and report the experimental results for water suspensions of black carbon for both the forward and 90° scattering properties. In this case, the total scattering and the extinction cross sections determine the single scattering albedo, which agrees with numerical simulations. The three parameters necessary to feed radiative transfer models, namely, extinction, asymmetry parameter, and single scattering albedo, can all be set by the analytical model, with explicit dependence on a few parameters. Results are applicable to radiative transfer problems in climate, paleoclimate, star and planetary formation, and nanoparticle optical characterization for science and industry, including the intercomparison of different optical methods such as those adopted by ISO standards.