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Halo and subsurface scattering in the transparent coating on top of a diffusing material

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Abstract

Strongly scattering supports coated with thick transparent medium display a bright halo with a characteristic ring shape when illuminated in one point by a thin pencil of light. The halo, whose size is related to the coating thickness, is due to the Fresnel internal reflections of the light scattered by the diffusing support at the coating–air interface. The angular distribution of the reflected light strongly varies over the halo according to the distance from the point initially illuminated, a fact that cannot be observed when a large area of the surface is illuminated as in usual reflectance and bidirectional reflectance distribution function measurements. By considering a Lambertian background and a transparent layer on top of it, both of them being possibly absorbing, we develop a bidirectional subsurface scattering reflectance distribution function model, based on analytical equations and matrix numerical computation, which enables a detailed description of the spatial and angular distribution of the scattered light including the multiple reflections between the background and the coating–air interface. Some applications in which this subsurface scattering phenomenon can be an issue are addressed, such as the reflectance measurement, which can be undervalued when the geometry is not adapted to the coating thickness, or the impact of the phenomenon on heterogeneously colored surfaces such as coated or laminated halftone prints.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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Equations (38)

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