In complex media such as white paint and biological tissue, light encounters nanoscale refractive-index inhomogeneities that cause multiple scattering. Such scattering is usually seen as an impediment to focusing and imaging. However, scientists have recently used strongly scattering materials to focus, shape and compress waves by controlling the many degrees of freedom in the incident waves. This was first demonstrated in the acoustic and microwave domains using time reversal, and is now being performed in the optical realm using spatial light modulators to address the many thousands of spatial degrees of freedom of light. This approach is being used to investigate phenomena such as optical super-resolution and the time reversal of light, thus opening many new avenues for imaging and focusing in turbid media.
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