Original Article

Citation: Light: Science & Applications (2017) 6, e17041; doi:10.1038/lsa.2017.41
Published online 25 August 2017

Random lasing in an Anderson localizing optical fiber
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Behnam Abaie1,2, Esmaeil Mobini1,2, Salman Karbasi3, Thomas Hawkins4, John Ballato4 and Arash Mafi1,2

  1. 1Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA
  2. 2Center for High Technology Materials, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87106, USA
  3. 3Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of California, San Diego, CA 92093, USA
  4. 4Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies (COMSET) and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29625, USA

Correspondence: A Mafi, Email: mafi@unm.edu

Received 9 November 2016; Revised 6 March 2017; Accepted 8 March 2017
Accepted article preview online 10 March 2017

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Abstract

A directional random laser mediated by transverse Anderson localization in a disordered glass optical fiber is reported. Previous demonstrations of random lasers have found limited applications because of their multi-directionality and chaotic fluctuations in the laser emission. The random laser presented in this paper operates in the Anderson localization regime. The disorder induced localized states form isolated local channels that make the output laser beam highly directional and stabilize its spectrum. The strong transverse disorder and longitudinal invariance result in isolated lasing modes with negligible interaction with their surroundings, traveling back and forth in a Fabry–Perot cavity formed by the air–fiber interfaces. It is shown that if a localized input pump is scanned across the disordered fiber input facet, the output laser signal follows the transverse position of the pump. Moreover, a uniformly distributed pump across the input facet of the disordered fiber generates a laser signal with very low spatial coherence that can be of practical importance in many optical platforms including image transport with fiber bundles.

Keywords:

disordered optical fiber; random lasing; transverse Anderson localization