Representative layer theory: Describing absorption by particulate samples

Kevin D. Dahm, Donald J. Dahm

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This paper summarizes the Representative Layer Theory of diffuse reflection, and contrasts it with other mainstream theoretical approaches. A brief historical perspective is provided on the development of modeling strategies, broadly classified as those using continuous and discontinuous mathematics. It is shown that a sample composed of a series of distinct layers can be modeled straightforwardly and accurately using a discontinuous approach. The focus of the paper is the Representative Layer Theory, which broadens the discontinuous modeling approach so that it is applicable to particulate samples. Experimental data validating the Representative Layer Theory is presented and the theory will be shown to explain some observed physical phenomena that were long known but not well understood. Examples are drawn from Near-Infrared Spectroscopy but the modeling approaches presented are applicable to other types of spectroscopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationReflection, Scattering, and Diffraction from Surfaces
StatePublished - 2008
EventReflection, Scattering, and Diffraction from Surfaces - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 11 2008Aug 12 2008

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherReflection, Scattering, and Diffraction from Surfaces
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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