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Mafi Research Group

Mafi Photo
Arash Mafi, Ph.D., Interim Director, Center for High Technology Materials, Associate Professor, Department of Physics & Astronomy.

The primary focus of the Photonics Research Group, headed by Dr. Arash Mafi, is on the application of theoretical, computational, and experimental methods for cutting-edge research in photonics, especially on nonlinear and quantum aspects of guided-wave optics. Guided-wave optics, whether in the form of optical fibers, or as plasmonic and silicon nano-waveguides, is the fundamental platform in device applications in photonics and will always remain at the frontiers of research in photonics. Our group has access to advanced computational and experimental facilities at the Center for High Tech Materials and Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of New Mexico and benefits from several on-going collaborations with other academic institutions and industry.

Research Interests

  • Quantum and nonlinear behavior of optical waveguides
  • Anderson localization: Wave propagation in random media
  • Linear and nonlinear multimode interference devices
  • Fiber lasers: Radiation balanced lasers; Gain-guided index-antiguided lasers and amplifiers; Beam quality analysis
  • Theoretical, computational, and experimental photonics: Guided-wave and fiber optics
  • Plasmonics and metamaterials.
  • Optical communications


UNM scientists awarded $7.5 million for laser research.

Physics World Top 10 Breakthrough 2014Our work on using disordered fibers to transmit images has been selected by Physics World of the Institute of Physics (IOP) as one of their Top 10 Breakthroughs in Physics in 2014.

Our paper on image transport through Anderson localized fiber is published in Nature Communications, 5 3362 (2014).

Our paper on light focusing in Anderson localized fiber is published in Nature Communications, 5 4534 (2014).

Our paper on migrating transverse-Anderson localizations of light in nonlocal media is accepted for publication in Physical Review Letters, (2014).

Dr. Mafi receives the Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (2013).

Dr. Mafi will present an invited talk on "Transverse Anderson localization in disordered optical fibers," at the Frontiers in Optics 2013.

First observation of transverse Anderson localization in optical fibers in featured on and

Article featured in Spotlight on Optics: Transverse Anderson localization in a disordered glass optical fiber.

Spotlight on Optics features articles nominated by The Optical Society's Topical and Associate Editors to show the breadth and quality of OSA content ....

Ryan Frazier wins the 1st place award for his research on the "Generation and Detection of Entangled Photons" in the fourth College of Engineering and Applied Science student research poster competition held on April 20, 2013.

Dr. Mafi is awarded an AFOSR research grant on nonlinear pulse propagation in multimode optical fibers (2012).

Dr. Mafi is awarded a UWM RGI grant on gain-guiding optical fiber lasers and amplifiers (2011).

Dr. Mafi is awarded a UWM RGI grant on the wavelength dependence of birefringence in nonlinear optical fibers (2010).

Physics World 2014 Top Ten List


Disorder sharpens optical-fibre images
Disorder sharpens optical-fibre images

To Arash Mafi and colleagues at the University of New Mexico, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Corning Inc. and Clemson University, all in the US, for using the phenomenon of "Anderson localization" to create a better optical fibre for transmitting images.

Disorder in an optical fibre usually blurs transmitted images, but Mafi and colleagues have shown that by putting the right kind of disorder in the right place, the ability of a fibre to transmit sharp images can be enhanced. Indeed, their prototype produced a sharper image than the best available commercial imaging fibres. The technique involves using Anderson localization of light.