Scattering is an effect with which electromagnetic waves and light waves are scattered and thus impaired during transmission.
- Inoptical waveguides, scattering is crucial for attenuation. It results from microscopic density fluctuations in the glass that deflect a portion of the guided light from its direction to the point where it leaves the optical waveguide. This process finds its explanation in Mie scattering and Rayleigh scattering. Rayleigh's law states that as the wavelength increases, the scattering loss decreases to the fourth power. At the wavelengths of 850 nm and 1,550 nm, which are relevant for optical communication, the scattering losses at 1,300 nm are about 18 % and at 1,550 nm only about 90 % of the value that occurs at 850 nm. The optical windows of optical waveguides are also located at these wavelengths.
- In radio transmission, the scattering of radio waves is used to select individual radio waves from a radio wave mixture. This is the case in the BLAST process and in Multiple Input Multiple Output( MIMO), which is used in WLANs.