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Coherent backscattering of Raman light

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Coherent backscattering of light is observed when electromagnetic waves undergo multiple scattering within a disordered optical medium. So far, coherent backscattering of light has been studied extensively for elastic (or Rayleigh) light scattering. The occurrence of inelastic scattering affects the visibility of the backscattering effect by reducing the degree of optical coherence in the diffusion process. Here, we discuss the first experimental observation of a constructive interference effect in the inelastically backscattered Raman radiation from strongly diffusing silicon nanowire random media. The observed phenomenon originates from the coherent nature of the Raman scattering process, which typically occurs on a scale given by the phonon coherence length. We interpret our results in the context of a theoretical model of mixed Rayleigh–Raman random walks to shed light on the role of phase coherence in multiple scattering phenomena.

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Figure 1: Structural characterization and ECBS cones for silicon nanowire materials.
Figure 2: Coherent backscattering cones for Rayleigh and Raman radiations.
Figure 3: Comparison between angular dependence of the Raman scattered light and that of the photoluminescence emission.
Figure 4: Coherent Raman backscattering process and illustration of basic concepts.
Figure 5: Enhancement of Raman coherent backscattering cones and comparison between experimental data and theoretical model.

Change history

  • 07 February 2017

    In the version of this Article originally published online, in Fig. 1 caption, in the sentence beginning 'It should be noted that...', '(ψ = θ)' should have read '(ψ =0)'. This error has now been corrected in all versions of the Article.


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The authors thank A. Lagendijk, N. Micali, F. Aliotta, S. Trusso and M. Liscidini for discussions. D.S.W. acknowledges support from the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ERC grant agreement no. 291349. F.P. acknowledges partial support from the European Commission and MIUR through projects PON02_00355_3391233 (Energetic) and PONa3_00136 (BRIT).

Author information




B.F. proposed the experiments and initiated the project. B.F. and M.G. conceived the idea of coherent Raman backscattering. A.I. realized the samples and performed the structural characterization (with contributions from M.J.L.F., C.D. and P.M.). S.P. and S.D.S. realized the experimental set-up and performed the experiments under supervision from M.G. (with contributions from C.D. and B.F.). B.F. and C.D. performed the data analysis (with contributions from M.A.I., R.S. and M.G.). D.S.W. developed the theoretical formalism of multiple Raman scattering. M.G. and S.D.S. developed the theoretical model of dephasing. B.F. and M.G. interpreted the data (with input from D.S.W.). B.F. and M.G. co-wrote the paper (with contributions from A.I. and F.P.). B.F., M.G. and F.P. coordinated the project. P.G.G., M.P. and C.S.V. and all authors contributed to the general discussion and to revision of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Barbara Fazio, Matteo Galli or Francesco Priolo.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Fazio, B., Irrera, A., Pirotta, S. et al. Coherent backscattering of Raman light. Nature Photon 11, 170–176 (2017).

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