Thursday, March 14, 2013

1303.3244 (Alexey G. Yamilov et al.)

Position-dependent diffusion of light in disordered waveguides    [PDF]

Alexey G. Yamilov, Raktim Sarma, Brandon Redding, Ben Payne, Heeso Noh, Hui Cao
Diffusion has been widely used to describe a random walk of particles or waves, and it requires only one parameter -- the diffusion constant. For waves, however, diffusion is an approximation that disregards the possibility of interference. Anderson localization, which manifests itself through a vanishing diffusion coefficient in an infinite system, originates from constructive interference of waves traveling in loop trajectories -- pairs of time-reversed paths returning to the same point. In an open system of finite size, the return probability through such paths is reduced, particularly near the boundary where waves may escape. Based on this argument, the self-consistent theory of localization and the supersymmetric field theory predict that the diffusion coefficient varies spatially inside the system. A direct experimental observation of this effect is a challenge because it requires monitoring wave transport inside the system. Here, we fabricate two-dimensional photonic random media and probe position-dependent diffusion inside the sample from the third dimension. By varying the geometry of the system or the dissipation which also limits the size of loop trajectories, we are able to control the renormalization of the diffusion coefficient. This work shows the possibility of manipulating diffusion via the interplay of localization and dissipation.
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