Observation of Anderson localization in disordered nanophotonic structures

Hanan Herzig Sheinfux, Yaakov Lumer, Guy Ankonina, Azriel Z. Genack, Guy Bartal, Mordechai Segev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Anderson localization is an interference effect crucial to the understanding of waves in disordered media. However, localization is expected to become negligible when the features of the disordered structure are much smaller than the wavelength. Here we experimentally demonstrate the localization of light in a disordered dielectric multilayer with an average layer thickness of 15 nanometers, deep into the subwavelength regime. We observe strong disorder-induced reflections that show that the interplay of localization and evanescence can lead to a substantial decrease in transmission, or the opposite feature of enhanced transmission. This deep-subwavelength Anderson localization exhibits extreme sensitivity: Varying the thickness of a single layer by 2 nanometers changes the reflection appreciably. This sensitivity, approaching the atomic scale, holds the promise of extreme subwavelength sensing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)953-956
Number of pages4
Issue number6341
StatePublished - 2 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright 2016 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science; all rights reserved.


The research of H.H.S. and M.S. was supported by the German-Israeli Deutsch-Israelische Projektkooperation (DIP) program, the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Israeli ICore Excellence Center "Circle of Light." The research of A.Z.G. was supported by National Science Foundation grant DMR/-BSF-1609218. All authors contributed to all aspects of this work.

FundersFunder number
German-Israeli Deutsch-Israelische Projektkooperation
Israeli ICore Excellence Center
National Science FoundationDMR/-BSF-1609218, 1609218
Air Force Office of Scientific Research


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