We will review the development in the last decade of discrete beam combiners (DBC), phase sensors based on the propagation of light in photonic lattices. The latest results on the development of DBC for astronomical applications will be presented, along with a new application for the complete tomography of modes at the tip of a multi-mode fiber. The possible use of the DBC in monitoring and controlling modal instabilities in high power lasers will be discussed.
As compared to single-mode fibers (SMFs), photonic lanterns could ease the coupling of starlight to single-mode astrophotonic instruments. Here we investigate numerically the advantage of using lanterns as compared to SMFs for seeing-limited and low-order adaptive telescopes. We find the turbulence strength below which focal-ratio-matched photonic lanterns provide an average flux per output equal to that of a sole SMF. Lastly, we look into the advantage of having a low-order adaptive optics (AO) as a way of relaxing the demand on the lantern size and complexity.