Supersymmetric partners of multimode waveguides are characterized by the fact that they share all of their effective indices with the original waveguide. The crucial exception is the fundamental mode, which is absent from the spectrum of the partner waveguide. Here, we demonstrate experimentally how this global phase-matching property can be exploited for efficient mode conversion. Multimode structures and their superpartners are experimentally realized in coupled networks of femtosecond laser-written waveguides, and the corresponding light dynamics are directly observed by means of fluorescence microscopy. We show that SUSY transformations can readily facilitate the removal of the fundamental mode from multimode optical structures. In turn, hierarchical sequences of such SUSY partners naturally implement the conversion between modes of adjacent order. Our experiments illustrate just one of the many possibilities of how SUSY may serve as a building block for integrated mode-division multiplexing arrangements. Supersymmetric notions may enrich and expand integrated photonics by versatile optical components and desirable, yet previously unattainable, functionalities.
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Matthias Heinrich, Mohammad-Ali Miri, Simon Stützer, Stefan Nolte, Alexander Szameit, Demetrios N. Christodoulides, "Supersymmetric mode converters," Proc. SPIE 9586, Photonic Fiber and Crystal Devices: Advances in Materials and Innovations in Device Applications IX, 95860V (26 August 2015);