We introduce a numerical method that enables efficient modeling of light scattering by large, disordered ensembles of non-spherical particles incorporated in stratified media, including when the particles are in close vicinity to each other, to planar interfaces, and/or to localized light sources. The method consists of finding a small set of fictitious polarizable elements—or numerical dipoles—that quantitatively reproduces the field scattered by an individual particle for any excitation and at an arbitrary distance from the particle surface. The set of numerical dipoles is described by a global polarizability matrix that is determined numerically by solving an inverse problem relying on fullwave simulations. The latter are classical and may be performed with any Maxwell’s equations solver. Spatial non-locality is an important feature of the numerical dipoles set, providing additional degrees of freedom compared to classical coupled dipoles to reconstruct complex scattered fields. Once the polarizability matrix describing scattering by an individual particle is determined, the multiple scattering problem by ensembles of such particles in stratified media can be solved using a Green tensor formalism and only a few numerical dipoles, thereby with a low physical memory usage, even for dense systems in close vicinity to interfaces. The performance of the method is studied with the example of large high-aspect-ratio high-index dielectric cylinders. The method is easy to implement and may offer new possibilities for the study of complex nanostructured surfaces, which are becoming widespread in emerging photonic technologies.
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