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Massively degenerate coherent perfect absorber for arbitrary wavefronts

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posted on 2023-01-12, 15:38 authored by Yevgeny Slobodkin, Gil Weinberg, Helmut Hörner, Kevin Pichler, Stefan Rotter, Ori Katz
One of the key insights in the emerging field of non-Hermitian photonics is that well-established concepts like the laser can be operated in reverse to realize a 'coherent perfect absorber' (CPA). While conceptually appealing, such CPAs are limited so far to a single, judiciously shaped wavefront or 'mode'. Here, we demonstrate how this limitation can be overcome by time-reversing a 'degenerate cavity laser', based on a unique cavity that self-images any incident light-field onto itself. Placing a weak, critically-coupled absorber into this cavity, we demonstrate that any incoming wavefront, even a complex and dynamically-varying speckle pattern, is absorbed with close to perfect efficiency in a massively parallel interference process. Moreover, the coherent nature of multi-mode absorption allows us to tune the degree of absorption over a wide range. These characteristics open-up interesting new possibilities for applications in light-harvesting, energy delivery, light control, and imaging.

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