Encyclopedia of Color Science and Technology

2016 Edition
| Editors: Ming Ronnier Luo

Rayleigh and Mie Scattering

  • David J. LockwoodEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-8071-7_218



Rayleigh scattering refers primarily to the elastic scattering of light from atomic and molecular particles whose diameter is less than about one-tenth the wavelength of the incident light.

Rayleigh line refers to the unshifted central peak observed in the spectroscopic analysis of scattered light.

Mie scattering refers primarily to the elastic scattering of light from atomic and molecular particles whose diameter is larger than about the wavelength of the incident light.

Thomson scattering is elastic scattering of light from free electrons.

Raman scattering is inelastic scattering of light from objects whereby the scattered photon has a lower (Raman Stokes scattering) or higher (Raman anti-Stokes scattering) energy than the incident photon.


From ancient times, people have gazed up at the sky in daylight and asked the perennial...

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Measurement Science and StandardsNational Research Council CanadaOttawaCanada