Electromagnetic scattering from slightly rough surfaces with inhomogeneous dielectric profiles

Kamal Sarabandi, Tsenchieh Chiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Remote sensing of soil moisture using microwave sensors require accurate and realistic scattering models for rough soil surfaces. In the past, much effort has been devoted to the development of scattering models for either perfectly conducting or homogeneous rough surfaces. In practice, however, the permittivity of most soil surfaces is nonuniform, particularly in depth, for which analytical solution does not exist. The variations in the permittivity of a soil medium can easily be related to its soil moisture profile and soil type using the existing empirical models. In this paper, analytical expressions for the bistatic scattering coefficients of soil surfaces with slightly rough interface and stratified permittivity profile are derived. The scattering formulation is based on a new approach where the perturbation expansion of the volumetric polarization current instead of the tangential fields is used to obtain the scattered field. Basically, the top rough layer is replaced with an equivalent polarization current and, using the volumetric integral equation in conjunction with the dyadic Green's function of the remaining stratified half-space medium, the scattering problem is formulated. Closed-form analytical expressions for the induced polarization currents to any desired order are derived, which are then used to evaluate the bistatic scattered fields up to and including the third order. The analytical solutions for the scattered fields are used to derive the complete second-order expressions for the backscattering coefficients as well as the statistics of phase difference between the scattering matrix elements. The theoretical results are shown to agree well with the backscatter measurements of rough surfaces with known dielectric profiles and roughness statistics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1419-1430
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1997


  • Electromagnetic scattering
  • Inhomogeneous media
  • Rough surfaces


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