### abstract

- Within the model of elastic impurity scattering, we study how changes in the energy dependence of the electronic density of states (EDOS) $N(\epsilon)$ around the Fermi energy $\epsilon_F$ are reflected in the frequency-dependent optical conductivity $\sigma(\omega)$. While conserving the total number of states in $N(\epsilon)$ we compute the induced changes in $\sigma(\omega)$ as a function of $\omega$ and in the corresponding optical scattering rate $1/\tau_{\rm op}(\omega)$. These quantities mirror some aspects of the EDOS changes but the relationship is not direct. Conservation of optical oscillator strength is found not to hold, and there is no sum rule on the optical scattering rate although one does hold for the quasiparticle scattering. Temperature as well as increases in impurity scattering lead to additional changes in optical properties not seen in the constant EDOS case. These effects have their origin in an averaging of the EDOS around the Fermi energy $\epsilon_F$ on an energy scale set by the impurity scattering.