What is the Right Theory for Anderson Localization of Light?

Anderson localization of light is traditionally described in analogy to electrons in a random potential. Within this description, the random potential depends on the wavelength of the incident light. For transverse Anderson localization, this leads to the prediction that the distribution of localization lengths—and, hence, its average—strongly depends on the wavelength.

 

 

In an alternative description, in terms of a spatially fluctuating electric modulus, this is not the case. Here, we report on an experimentum crucis in order to investigate the validity of the two conflicting theories using optical samples exhibiting transverse Anderson localization. We do not find any dependence of the observed average localization radii on the light wavelength. We conclude that the modulus-type description is the correct one and not the potential-type one.

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