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Mean path length inside non-scattering refractive objects
preprintposted on 2023-01-11, 23:15 authored by Matt Majic, Walter R. C. Somerville, Eric C. Le Ru
It has recently been argued that the geometric-optics mean path length of rays inside a refractive object under Lambertian illumination is independent of the scattering strength of the medium [Savo et al., Science 358, 765 (2017)]. We here show that it is in fact different in the case of zero-scattering. We uncover and explain the role of trapped ray trajectories in creating this unexpected discontinuity from zero- to low-scattering. This allows us to derive new analytic results for the zero-scattering mean path length of simple refractive shapes. This work provides a fresh perspective on the study of path length inside refractive objects, with possible applications in for example the study of scattering by large particles or the design of optical systems.