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Measurement of Scattering and Absorption Cross Sections of Microspheres for Wavelengths between 240 nm and 800 nm



Lili Wang, Steven J. Choquette, Adolfas Gaigalas


A commercial spectrometer with a 150 mm integrating sphere (IS) detector was used to measure the scattering and absorption cross sections of polystyrene monodisperse microspheres suspended in water. Absorption measurements were performed with the sample placed inside the IS detector. The styrene absorption was non zero for wavelengths less than 300 nm. Correction for fluorescence emission by styrene was carried out and the imaginary part of the index of refraction, nI, was obtained. Extinction measurements with the sample placed outside the IS detector were sensitive to the loss of photons from the incident beam due to scattering. The extinction data was fitted with Lorenz-Mie cross section and a correction for the finite acceptance aperture of the spectrometer. The fit parameters were the diameter, the suspension concentration, and the real part of the index of refraction. The real part of the index was parameterized using a expansion in terms of powers of the inverse wavelength. The fits were excellent from 300 nm to 800 nm and diameters greater than 3.0 µm. By including the positive imaginary part obtained from the absorbance measurements below 300 nm, it was possible to obtain a good fit to the observed scattering data over the region 240 nm to 800 nm. The value of nI at 266 nm was about 0.0060±0.0016 for microspheres with diameters of 1.5 μm, 2.0 µm, and 3.0 μm. The scattering cross section, absorption cross section, and the quantum yield at 266 nm of microsphere with a diameter of 2.0 μm was 5.65±0.01 µm2, 1.54±0.03 µm2, and 0.027±0.002 respectively. The styrene absorption reduces the scattering cross section by 20% at 266 nm.
Journal of Research (NIST JRES) - 118.001
Report Number


microspheres, scattering, integrating sphere detector, Lorenz-Mie


Wang, L. , Choquette, S. and Gaigalas, A. (2013), Measurement of Scattering and Absorption Cross Sections of Microspheres for Wavelengths between 240 nm and 800 nm, Journal of Research (NIST JRES), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed July 18, 2024)


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Created January 10, 2013, Updated November 10, 2018