Strong Localization in Disordered Media: Analysis of the Backscattering Cone

  • Edgar Delgado

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


A very interesting effect in light propagation through a disordered system is Anderson localization of light, this phenomenon emerges as the result of multiple scattering of waves by electric inhomogeneities like spatial variations of index of refraction; as the amount of scattering is increased, light propagation is converted from quasi-diffusive to exponentially localized, with photons confined in a limited spatial region characterized by a fundamental quantity known as localization length. Light localization is strongly related to another interference phenomenon emerged from the multiple scattering effect: the coherent backscattering effect. In multiple scattering of waves, in fact, coherence is preserved in the backscattering direction and produces a reinforcement of the field flux originating an observable peak in the backscattered intensity, known as backscattering cone. The study of this peak provide quantitative information about the transport properties of light in the material. In this thesis we report a complete FDTD ab-initio study of light localization and coherent backscattering. In particular, we consider a supercontinuum pulse impinging on a sample composed of randomly positioned scatterers. We study coherent backscattering by averaging over several realizations of the sample properties. We study then the coherent backscattering cone properties as the relative permittivity of the sample is changed, relating the latter with the light localization inside the sample. We demonstrate important relationships between the width of the backscattering cone and the localization length, which shows a linear proportionality in the strong localization regime.
Date of AwardJun 2012
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorAndrea Fratalocchi (Supervisor) & Boon Ooi (Supervisor)


  • Localization of Waves
  • Multiple Scattering
  • Disorder
  • Coherent Backscattering
  • Backscattering cone

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