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In situ observation of slow and tunnelling light at the cutoff wavelength of an optical fiber

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Abstract

Slow waves and tunneling waves can meet at the cutoff wavelengths and/or the transmission band edges of optical and quantum mechanical waveguides. The experimental investigation of this phenomenon, previously performed using various optical microstructures, is challenged by fabrication imperfections and material losses. Here, we demonstrate this phenomenon in situ for whispering gallery modes slowly propagating along a standard optical fiber, which possesses a record uniformity and exceptionally small transmission losses. The slow axial propagation dramatically increases the longitudinal wavelength of light and allows us to measure nanosecond-long tunneling times along tunable potential barriers having the width of hundreds of micrometers. This demonstration paves a simple and versatile way to investigate and employ the interplaying slow and tunneling light.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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