Characterizing particles in the ocean using multi-angle light scattering

Xiaodong Zhang is a Professor with the Department of Earth System Science Policy at the University of North Dakota

Abstract for Weekly Colloquium on Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 4 pm in Harvill 318

As light beams pass through the environment, part of light is scattered by molecules and particles that are suspended in the atmosphere or the oceans. Measuring the scattered light is frequently used in studying the suspended matter in the ocean and the atmosphere. However, measuring the light only at one or a few angles is like touching only a partial body of an elephant, and difficult, sometimes impossible, to form a complete picture. However, by observing light scattering at many angles simultaneously, we have a developed a technique to retrieve the composition and sizes of particles by examining the angular pattern of the scattered light. I will report the progress that we have been able to achieve in applying this technique to quantify particles in the ocean.


Xiaodong Zhang joined the University of North Dakota in April 2002 after receiving a Ph.D. in Oceanography from Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada, where he studied the optical properties of microbubbles in the ocean and their effect on the hyperspectral reflectance at surface. Xiaodong had been working for 7 years at Ocean Remote Sensing Institute, Ocean University of China, studying satellite remote sensing and its application in oceanography. He also holds a M.S. degree in Oceanography from Dalhousie University, and a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Nanjing University, China.

As a founding member of the Earth System Science and Policy program, Xiaodong was appointed as Assistant Professor and Associate Professor in 2004 and 2007, respectively. He teaches the ESSP 502 Hydrologic Cycle, ESSP 530 Principles of Environmental Physics, and ESSP 333 Oceanography. His general research interests focus around radiative transfer and its applications in studying aquatic environment. For specific researches, past and present, please visit Xiaodong's website