Letter to the Editor: More on the transmission matrix in optics

  • Aristide Dogariu, CREOL, The College of Optics and Photonics, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32816, USA
Physics 3, 67
A reader provides more background on use of disordered media in optics as discussed in a recent Viewpoint.

In regard to the Viewpoint by van Putten and Mosk [1], which discusses results on measurement of the transmission matrix in optics by S. M. Popoff et al., I would like to point out several facts. Aspects of propagation of waves through random media are at the heart of mesoscopic physics, and have therefore been studied extensively in the last two decades. The fact that the transmission matrix (TM) of disordered media depends in a complicated, seemingly random manner on the properties of the input field has been known for a long time. The use of random media as traditional optical components or systems was suggested twenty years ago by Isaac Freund [2] and a broader discussion of these proposals can also be found in a review by van Rossum and Nieuwenhuizen [3]. Since then, there have been several developments that exploit the existence of the transmission matrix without explicitly knowing it, as well as a number of practical applications that rely on measuring the transmission matrices of random media. However, the present essay does not provide an inclusive perspective of the entire field. The Viewpoint by van Putten and Mosk fails to acknowledge the original proposal by Freund in 1990 and other experimental demonstrations of the use of multiple scattering media as high-precision optical instruments. The control and use of light propagating through random media is indeed a topic of both significant fundamental importance and high practical relevance and, therefore, deserves to be placed in the appropriate factual context.

References

  1. E. G. van Putten and A. P. Mosk, Physics 3, 22 (2010)
  2. I. Freund, Physica A 168, 49 (1990)
  3. M. C. W. van Rossum and T. M. Nieuwenhuizen, Rev. Mod. Phys. 71, 313 (1999)

Recent Articles

Focus: Balls as 3D Gears
Mechanics

Focus: Balls as 3D Gears

Spinning a few spheres among a large collection of them can lead to a predictable state where each sphere rotates in synch with the others. Read More »

Synopsis: A Relativistic View of a Clumpy Universe
Cosmology

Synopsis: A Relativistic View of a Clumpy Universe

Cosmologists have begun using fully relativistic models to understand the effects of inhomogeneous matter distribution on the evolution of the Universe. Read More »

Arts & Culture: Feynman for All

Arts & Culture: Feynman for All

Collaboration with artists is fostering creativity in research labs and enabling physics to reach new audiences. Read More »

More Articles