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Phys Rev Lett. 2008 Sep 19;101(12):123901. Epub 2008 Sep 15.

Exceptional reduction of the diffusion constant in partially disordered photonic crystals.

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  • 1European Laboratory for Nonlinear Spectroscopy and INFM-BEC, Sesto Fiorentino (Florence), Italy.


In real photonic crystals light is scattered by the imperfections of the periodic potential. We study experimentally the propagation of diffused light in silicon inverse opals and report an exceptionally reduced diffusion constant of 3.0+/-0.7 m(2)/s, in samples which are only partially disordered. Waves scattered both by the lattice planes and by their imperfections interfere and light is efficiently trapped in this hybrid scattering regime. Not only higher quality crystals, but also random materials present an order of magnitude bigger diffusion constant and hence weaker scattering.

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