Abstract

In this paper, we review recent progress in disordered optical fiber featuring transverse Anderson localization and its applications for imaging. Anderson localizing optical fiber has a transversely random but longitudinally uniform refractive index profile. The strong scattering from the transversely disordered refractive index profiles generates thousands of guiding modes that are spatially isolated and mainly demonstrate single-mode properties. By making use of these beam transmission channels, robust and high-fidelity imaging transport can be realized. The first disordered optical fiber of this type, the polymer Anderson localizing optical fiber, has been utilized to demonstrate better imaging performance than some of the commercial multicore fibers within a few centimeters transmission distance. To obtain longer transmission lengths and better imaging qualities, glass–air disordered optical fibers are desirable due to their lower loss and larger refractive index contrast. Recently developed high air-filling fraction glass–air disordered fiber can provide bending-independent and high-quality image transport through a meter-long transmission distance. By integrating a deep-learning algorithm with glass–air disordered fiber, a fully flexible, artifact-free, and lensless fiber imaging system is demonstrated, with potential benefits for biomedical and clinical applications. Future research will focus on optimizing structural parameters of disordered optical fiber as well as developing more efficient deep-learning algorithms to further improve the imaging performance.

© 2019 Optical Society of America

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