Probing the statistical properties of Anderson localization with quantum emitters

Stephan Smolka, Henri Thyrrestrup Nielsen, Luca Sapienza, Tau B. Lehmann, Kristian R. Rix, Luis S. Froufe-Pérez, Pedro D. García, Peter Lodahl

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Wave propagation in disordered media can be strongly modified by multiple scattering and wave interference. Ultimately, the so-called Anderson-localized regime is reached when the waves become strongly confined in space. So far, Anderson localization of light has been probed in transmission experiments by measuring the intensity of an external light source after propagation through a disordered medium. However, discriminating between Anderson localization and losses in these experiments remains a major challenge. In this paper, we present an alternative approach where we use quantum emitters embedded in disordered photonic crystal waveguides as light sources. Anderson-localized modes are efficiently excited and the analysis of the photoluminescence spectra allows us to explore their statistical properties, for example the localization length and average loss length. With increasing the amount of disorder induced in the photonic crystal, we observe a pronounced increase in the localization length that is attributed to changes in the local density of states, a behavior that is in stark contrast to entirely random systems. The analysis may pave the way for accurate models and the control of Anderson localization in disordered photonic crystals.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)063044
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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