Twist-induced guidance in coreless photonic crystal fiber: A helical channel for light

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Science Advances  25 Nov 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 11, e1601421
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601421

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A century ago, Einstein proposed that gravitational forces were the result of the curvature of space-time and predicted that light rays would deflect when passing a massive celestial object. We report that twisting the periodically structured “space” within a coreless photonic crystal fiber creates a helical channel where guided modes can form despite the absence of any discernible core structure. Using a Hamiltonian optics analysis, we show that the light rays follow closed spiral or oscillatory paths within the helical channel, in close analogy with the geodesics of motion in a two-dimensional gravitational field. The mode diameter shrinks, and its refractive index rises, as the twist rate increases. The birefringence, orbital angular momentum, and dispersion of these unusual modes are explored.

  • Photonic crystal fibers
  • fiber optics
  • orbital angular momentum
  • photonic crystals
  • photonic bandgap materials

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