Optical detection of small changes in refractive indices in water by single-beam scattering.
We studied forward-scattered laser light that is produced when the light strikes an abrupt interface (air bubble in water) and when it passes unimpeded through diffused water layers caused by temperature gradients. Measured intensities of the scattered light indicated patterns that are due to both geometrical and physical optics. Distribution of intensities within the scattered beam changed with the average vertical temperature gradient. Shifts in locations of intensities indicated small changes in the index of refraction in the diffused scattering case.