Transmission eigenchannels are building blocks of coherent wave transport in diffusive media, and selective excitation of individual eigenchannels can lead to diverse transport behaviour. An essential yet poorly understood property is the transverse spatial profile of each eigenchannel, which is relevant for the associated energy density and critical for coupling light into and out of it. Here, we discover that the transmission eigenchannels of a disordered slab possess exponentially localized incident and outgoing profiles, even in the diffusive regime far from Anderson localization. Such transverse localization arises from a combination of reciprocity, local coupling of spatial modes and non-local correlations of scattered waves. Experimentally, we observe signatures of such localization even with finite illumination area. The transverse localization of high-transmission channels enhances optical energy densities inside turbid media, which will be important for light—matter interactions and imaging applications.



Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for High Performance Computing Research


The authors acknowledge financial support by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) under grant no. MURI N00014-13-0649 and by the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) under grant no. 2015509, as well as computational resources provided by the Yale High Performance Computing Cluster (Yale HPC).

Keywords and Phrases

Photonics, Anderson localization; Building blockes; Diffusive regime; High transmission; Imaging applications; Selective excitations; Spatial profiles; Transport behaviour, Light transmission

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1749-4885; 1749-4893

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2019, This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply.

Publication Date

01 May 2019

Included in

Physics Commons