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Statistical mechanics of beam self-cleaning in GRIN multimode optical fibers

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posted on 2023-01-12, 14:28 authored by F. Mangini, M. Gervaziev, M. Ferraro, D. S. Kharenko, M. Zitelli, Y. Sun, V. Couderc, E. V. Podivilov, S. A. Babin, S. Wabnitz
Since its first demonstration in graded-index multimode fibers, spatial beam self-cleaning has attracted a growing research interest. It allows for the propagation of beams with a bell-shaped spatial profile, thus enabling the use of multimode fibers for several applications, from biomedical imaging to high-power beam delivery. So far, beam self-cleaning has been experimentally studied under several different experimental conditions. Whereas it has been theoretically described as the irreversible energy transfer from high-order modes towards the fundamental mode, in analogy with a beam condensation mechanism. Here, we provide a definitive theoretical description of beam self-cleaning, by means of a semi-classical statistical mechanics model of wave thermalization. This approach is confirmed by an extensive experimental characterization, based on a holographic mode decomposition technique, employing laser pulses with temporal durations ranging from femtoseconds up to nanoseconds. An excellent agreement between theory and experiments is found, which demonstrates that beam self-cleaning can be fully described in terms of the basic conservation laws of statistical mechanics.

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