Optical properties of natural or designed materials are determined by the electromagnetic multipole moments that light can excite in the constituent particles. In this paper, we present an approach to calculating the multipole excitations in arbitrary arrays of nanoscatterers in a dielectric host medium. We introduce a simple and illustrative multipole decomposition of the electric currents excited in the scatterers and connect this decomposition to the classical multipole expansion of the scattered field. In particular, we find that completely different multipoles can produce identical scattered fields. The presented multipole theory can be used as a basis for the design and characterization of optical nanomaterials.
- electromagnetic multipole theory
- optical nanomaterials