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Maximal energy transport through disordered media with the implementation of transmission eigenchannels


Complex media such as random nanostructures and biological tissues induce multiple wave scattering, which interrupts the propagation of waves and attenuates energy transmission. Even for a highly disordered medium, however, it is possible in principle to enhance the delivery of energy to the far side of the medium. Similar to the resonator modes in linear optical cavities, specific modes called eigenchannels exist in a disordered medium and have extraordinarily high transmission. In this Letter, we report the first experimental realization of transmission eigenchannels in a disordered medium and show that an eigenchannel transports 3.99 times more energy than uncontrolled waves, which is the best experimental record reported to date. Our study will open up new avenues for enhancing light energy delivery to biological tissues for medical purposes and for controlling the lasing threshold in random lasers.

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Figure 1: Experimental set-up for recording a transmission matrix and generating each transmission eigenchannel.
Figure 2: Construction of a transmission matrix for a disordered medium.
Figure 3: Experimental implementation of the maximum transmission eigenchannel.
Figure 4: Experimentally measured transmittance of individual eigenchannels.
Figure 5: Wavefront-shaping method.


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The authors thank C. Fang-Yen for helpful discussions. This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (2011-0005018, 2011-0016568, 2011-0029807 and 2011-0020205).

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Authors and Affiliations



W.C., M.K. and Y.C. conceived the experiment. M.K. carried out the measurements and analysed the data together with Y.C., C.Y. and W.C. W.C.* and Q.P. performed theoretical studies and supported data interpretation. J.K. supported the design of the optical set-up. M.K., Q.P. and W.C. prepared the manuscript, with all authors contributing to the final version. (W.C. and W.C.* refer to Wonshik Choi and Wonjun Choi, respectively.)

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Correspondence to Wonshik Choi.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Kim, M., Choi, Y., Yoon, C. et al. Maximal energy transport through disordered media with the implementation of transmission eigenchannels. Nature Photon 6, 581–585 (2012).

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