We present experimental and numerical studies on principal modes in a multimode fiber with mode coupling. By applying external stress to the fiber and gradually adjusting the stress, we have realized a transition from weak to strong mode coupling, which corresponds to the transition from single scattering to multiple scattering in mode space. Our experiments show that principal modes have distinct spatial and spectral characteristic in the weak and strong mode coupling regimes. We also investigate the bandwidth of the principal modes, in particular, the dependence of the bandwidth on the delay time, and the effects of the mode-dependent loss. By analyzing the path-length distributions, we discover two distinct mechanisms that are responsible for the bandwidth of principal modes in weak and strong mode coupling regimes. Their interplay leads to a non-monotonic transition of the average principal mode bandwidth from weak to strong mode coupling. Taking into account the mode-dependent loss in the fiber, our numerical results are in qualitative agreement with our experimental observations. Our study paves the way for exploring potential applications of principal modes in communication, imaging and spectroscopy.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work is supported partly by the US National Science Foundation under the Grant No. ECCS-1509361 and by the US Office of Naval Research under the MURI grant No. N00014-13-1-0649. P.A. and S.R. acknowledge support by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) through projects SFB NextLite (F49-P10) and project GePartWave (I1142). We acknowledge Chia Wei Hsu, Nicolas Fontaine, Tsampikos Kottos, and Boris Shapiro for simulating discussions.
© 2017 Optical Society of America.