We describe experimental results and a theoretical analysis for propagation in graded-index multimode fiber when diode laser light is launched into the lowest-order propagation modes and the fiber undergoes severe bending perturbations. Experimentally, near-field modal interference images and transmission loss measurements were obtained for different loop diameters. The data indicate that, when the fundamental mode is excited, the light remains in lowest-order modes even for small bend diameters. This is consistent with analysis which predicts that, in a parabolic-index multimode fiber subject to constant diameter bending, the light tends to oscillate between lowest-order modes and remains trapped therein rather than diffusing to high-order modes. Implications of these results for an intrusion-resistant communication system with graded-index multimode fiber are discussed.
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