Measurement and modelling of light scattering by phytoplankton cells at narrow forward angles

Iain MacCallum, Alex Cunningham, David McKee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


A procedure has been devised for measuring the angular dependence of light scattering from suspensions of phytoplankton cells at forward angles from 0.25◦ to 8◦. The cells were illuminated with a spatially-filtered laser beam and the angular distribution of scattered light measured by tracking a photodetector across the Fourier plane of a collecting lens using a stepper-motor driven stage. The procedure was calibrated by measuring scattering from latex bead suspensions with known size distributions. It was then used to examine the scattering from cultures of the unicellular algae Isochrysis galbana (4 μm × 5 μm), Dunaliella primolecta (6 μm × 7 μm) and Rhinomonas reticulata (5 μm × 11 μm). The results were compared with the predictions of Mie theory. Excellent agreement was obtained for spherical particles. A suitable choice of spherical-equivalent scattering parameters was required to enable reasonable agreement within the first diffraction lobe for ellipsoidal particles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)698-702
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Optics A: Pure and Applied Optics
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2004


  • diffraction and scattering
  • Fourier optics
  • optical properties of seawater
  • photonics


Dive into the research topics of 'Measurement and modelling of light scattering by phytoplankton cells at narrow forward angles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this