Side coupling to core modes through zinc oxide (ZnO) nanorods grown around the fiber is demonstrated in this work. The scheme utilizes wet etching of the cladding region followed by hydrothermal growth of the nanorods. The combination of nanostructures and the optical fiber system is used to demonstrate a simple wide field of view (FOV) optical receiver. Core modes are excited by the light scattered in the region where the fiber core is exposed. The angular response of the receiver was tested using a nephlometer. Light coupling efficiency was extracted by deconvoluting the finite beam extinction from the measured power. The results were compared to a first-order analytical model in which the phase function is assumed to linearly shift with the incident angle. The trend of the experimental measurements agrees with the model. 180° FOV is verified, and maximum coupling efficiency of around 2.5% for a single fiber is reported. Excitation of core modes through side coupling shows potential for the application of these devices in optical receivers and sensors.
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