Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Arthur McGurn

Second Advisor

Dr. M. Soga

Third Advisor

Dr. P. Pancella

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The optical constants n and k measured by Johnson and Christy (1972) for the noble metals (gold, silver and copper) are used to analyze the relationship between the surface characteristics and the peak height and half-width of the backscattering peak which is observed in the angular distribution of the intensity of diffusely reflected light at a vacuum-metal interface in a direction antiparallel to the original incident beam. Surfaces with surface roughness of heights less than 200 A to 300 A will be considered and a recently developed perturbation treatment will be used in these studies.

The backscattering of light from randomly rough surfaces has been studied in diverse fields such as astronomy, radar, meteorology and solid state physics. Retroreflection enhancement arises both from the shadow casting properties of the surface disorders and from the phase coherence effects of retroreflected light. These mechanisms create enhancements from rough surfaces with disorder ranging from length scales much smaller than the wavelength of the scattered light to those that are much larger than the wavelength. In this thesis, however, we will only deal with recently discovered enhanced retroreflection from very weakly rough metal surfaces which arise from phase coherent (weak localization) effects involving resonant scattering from surface electromagnetic waves.