Numerical solutions of the macroscopic Maxwell equations for scattering by non-spherical particles: A tutorial review
Numerical solution methods for electromagnetic scattering by non-spherical particles comprise a variety of different techniques, which can be traced back to different assumptions and solution strategies applied to the macroscopic Maxwell equations. One can distinguish between time- and frequency-domain methods; further, one can divide numerical techniques into finite-difference methods (which are based on approximating the differential operators), separation-of-variables methods (which are based on expanding the solution in a complete set of functions, thus approximating the fields), and volume integral-equation methods (which are usually solved by discretisation of the target volume and invoking the long-wave approximation in each volume cell). While existing reviews of the topic often tend to have a target audience of program developers and expert users, this tutorial review is intended to accommodate the needs of practitioners as well as novices to the field. The required conciseness is achieved by limiting the presentation to a selection of illustrative methods, and by omitting many technical details that are not essential at a first exposure to the subject. On the other hand, the theoretical basis of numerical methods is explained with little compromises in mathematical rigour; the rationale is that a good grasp of numerical light scattering methods is best achieved by understanding their foundation in Maxwell's theory.