Control of coherent backscattering by breaking optical reciprocity

Y. Bromberg, B. Redding, S. M. Popoff, H. Cao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Reciprocity is a universal principle that has a profound impact on many areas of physics. A fundamental phenomenon in condensed-matter physics, optical physics, and acoustics, arising from reciprocity, is the constructive interference of quantum or classical waves which propagate along time-reversed paths in disordered media, leading to, for example, weak localization and metal-insulator transition. Previous studies have shown that such coherent effects are suppressed when reciprocity is broken. Here we experimentally show that by tuning a nonreciprocal phase we can coherently control complex coherent phenomena, rather than simply suppress them. In particular, we manipulate coherent backscattering of light, also known as weak localization. By utilizing a magneto-optical effect, we control the interference between time-reversed paths inside a multimode fiber with strong mode mixing, observe the optical analog of weak antilocalization, and realize a continuous transition from weak localization to weak antilocalization. Our results may open new possibilities for coherent control of waves in complex systems.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number023826
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number2
StatePublished - 18 Feb 2016

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Physical Society.


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