Metadisorder for designer light in random systems

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Science Advances  14 Oct 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 10, e1501851
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501851


Disorder plays a critical role in signal transport by controlling the correlation of a system, as demonstrated in various complex networks. In wave physics, disordered potentials suppress wave transport, because of their localized eigenstates, from the interference between multiple scattering paths. Although the variation of localization with tunable disorder has been intensively studied as a bridge between ordered and disordered media, the general trend of disorder-enhanced localization has remained unchanged, and the existence of complete delocalization in highly disordered potentials has not been explored. We propose the concept of “metadisorder”: randomly coupled optical systems in which eigenstates can be engineered to achieve unusual localization. We demonstrate that one of the eigenstates in a randomly coupled system can always be arbitrarily molded, regardless of the degree of disorder, by adjusting the self-energy of each element. Ordered waves with the desired form are then achieved in randomly coupled systems, including plane waves and globally collective resonances. We also devise counterintuitive functionalities in disordered systems, such as “small-world–like” transport from non–Anderson-type localization, phase-conserving disorder, and phase-controlled beam steering.

  • Disorder
  • Anderson localization
  • wave transport
  • metamaterial
  • network
  • random-walk potential
  • invisibility
  • beam steering
  • chirality
  • orbital angular momentum

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