PHYSICS: Flowering Lasers

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Science  22 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5598, pp. 1517a
DOI: 10.1126/science.298.5598.1517a

When individual lasers are brought together, the beams of coherent photons can couple together, resulting in the formation of new modes and spatial patterns. This coherent coupling may find a number of practical uses; for example, the new modes can be used to encode information in signal processing, or they can be used to improve the distribution profile of the emission. Most coupling, however, has been in the weak regime, where the characteristic properties of each beam tend to be preserved and only the overlapping region is modified. Using a closely packed hexagonal array of vertical cavity surface emitting lasers, Yadin et al. show that the stronger coupling yields flower-like patterns that span the entire area of the array. Moreover, the spatial patterns are maintained as the light propagates, providing a potential route for enhanced transmission of information in free space. — ISO

Opt. Lett. 27, 1908 (2002).

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