Branched Flow


Heller, E.J., Fleischmann, R. & Kramer, T. Branched Flow. arXiv 1910.07086 (2019).


In many physical situations involving diverse length scales, waves or rays representing them travel through media characterized by spatially smooth, random, modest refactive index variations. “Primary” diffraction (by individual sub-wavelength features) is absent. Eventually the weak refraction leads to imperfect focal “cusps”. Much later, a statistical regime characterized by momentum diffusion is manifested. An important intermediate regime is often overlooked, one that is diffusive only in an ensemble sense. Each realization of the ensemble possesses dramatic ray limit structure that guides the waves (in the same sense that ray optics is used to design lens systems). This structure is a universal phenomenon called branched flow. Many important phenomena develop in this intermediate regime. Here we give examples and some of the physics of this emerging field.

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