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Spotlight on Optics


  • February 2011

Optics InfoBase > Spotlight on Optics > Fabrication, characterization, and theoretical analysis of controlled disorder in the core of optical fibers

Fabrication, characterization, and theoretical analysis of controlled disorder in the core of optical fibers

Published in Applied Optics, Vol. 50 Issue 6, pp.802-810 (2011)
by Norma P. Puente, Elena I. Chaikina, Sumudu Herath, and Alexey Yamilov

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Spotlight summary: Interest in disordered media has grown steadily since the first demonstration of random lasing in disordered materials approximately 20 years ago. Unlike conventional lasing, which happens in ordered resonators specifically designed to amplify light, random lasing occurs in disordered media through the combined action of a large number of randomly located, typically small resonators. Random lasing is a complex phenomenon that seems to involve the overlapping of multiple regimes and mechanisms, hence appearing in a large variety of manifestations, not all sharing the same properties but all being remarkably interesting and potentially useful in a large number of areas, ranging from cancer detection to telecommunications. An adequately designed disorder in the lasing or transmission medium can allow the selection of particular features in the optical output, so the idea of engineering disorder in optical materials is a very attractive one.

Recent demonstrations of coherent and incoherent random lasing in optical fibers have drawn attention to the possibilities offered by this medium for the generation of random lasing. The paper by Puente et al. further advances the field by presenting a theoretical and experimental study of the possibility of inducing random variations of the diffractive index of an optical fiber with a controlled degree of disorder. Moreover, the authors show that by controlling this disorder they are able to affect the properties of the transmitted light in the fiber, suppressing radiative losses and improving the coupling between modes, making the waveguide particularly suitable for efficient random lasing.

The timeliness of the work is undisputable, and even though the match between theory and experiment is not perfect, the twofold theoretical–experimental approach paints a more complete physical picture of the method applied, making it particularly useful to other researchers on the field.

All in all, the results presented in this paper open up new and important possibilities in the design of coherent and incoherent random fiber lasers and can be expected to have a significant impact in the community.

-- Juan Diego Ania Castañón

Technical Division: Optoelectronics
ToC Category: Fiber Optics and Optical Communications
OCIS Codes: (060.2310) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fiber optics
(260.2160) Physical optics : Energy transfer
(290.4210) Scattering : Multiple scattering

Posted on February 23, 2011

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