Anderson localization of electromagnetic waves in three dimensions

06 Mar 2022 By Alexey Yamilov, Sergey E. Skipetrov, Tyler W. Hughes, Momchil Minkov, Zongfu Yu, Hui Cao

Anderson localization marks a halt of diffusive wave propagation in disordered systems. Despite extensive studies over the past 40 years, Anderson localization of light in three dimensions has remained elusive, leading to the questions about its very existence. Recent orders-of-magnitude speed-up of finite-difference time-domain calculations allows us to conduct brute-force numerical simulations of light transport in fully disordered 3D systems with unprecedented size and refractive index contrast. We demonstrate three-dimensional localization of vector electromagnetic waves in random packings of perfect electric conductor spheres, in sharp contrast to the absence of localization for dielectric spheres with a refractive index contrast up to 10. Our work opens a wide range of avenues in both fundamental research related to Anderson localization and potential applications using 3D localized states.