Light transport through a multimode optical waveguide undergoes changes when subjected to bending deformations. We show that optical waveguides with a perfectly parabolic refractive index profile are almost immune to bending, conserving the structure of propagation-invariant modes. Moreover, we show that changes to the transmission matrix of parabolic-index fibers due to bending can be expressed with only two free parameters, regardless of how complex a particular deformation is. We provide detailed analysis of experimentally measured transmission matrices of a commercially available graded-index fiber as well as a gradient-index rod-lens featuring a very faithful parabolic refractive index profile. Although parabolic-index fibers with a sufficiently precise refractive index profile are not within our reach, we show that imaging performance with standard commercially available graded-index fibers is significantly less influenced by bending deformations than stepindex types under the same conditions. Our work thus predicts that the availability of ultra-precise parabolic-index fibers will make endoscopic applications with flexible probes feasible and free from extremely elaborate computational challenges.
- Biological physics
Flaes, D. E. B., Stopka, J., Turtaev, S., de Boer, J. F., Tyc, T., & Cizmar, T. (2018). Robustness of Light-Transport Processes to Bending Deformations in Graded-Index Multimode Waveguides. Physical Review Letters, 120(23), [233901 ]. https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.120.233901