Temperature nonuniformity is a critical problem in rapid thermal processing (RTP) of wafers because it leads to uneven diffusion of implanted dopants and introduces thermal stress. One cause of the problem is nonuniform absorption of thermal radiation, especially in patterned wafers, where the optical properties vary across the wafer surface. Recent developments in RTP have led to the use of millisecond-duration heating cycle, which is too short for thermal diffusion to even out the temperature distribution. The feature size is already below and is smaller than the wavelength of the flash-lamp radiation. Little is known to the spectral distribution of the absorbed energy for different patterning structures. This paper presents a parametric study of the radiative properties of patterned wafers with the smallest feature dimension down to , considering the effects of temperature, wavelength, polarization, and angle of incidence. The rigorous coupled wave analysis is employed to obtain numerical solutions of the Maxwell equations and to assess the applicability of the method of homogenization based on effective medium formulations.