We report what is to our knowledge the first experimental demonstration of a photorefractive spatial mode converter (based on mutually pumped phase conjugation) that couples light efficiently from a multimode fiber into a single-mode fiber with an extremely large degree of tolerance to misalignment. Using an argon laser (514.5 nm) and a barium titanate crystal, we have demonstrated that the laser light can be coupled from a multimode fiber (core diameter 100 μm, numerical aperture 0.37) into a single-mode fiber (core diameter 2.9 μm, numerical aperture 0.11), with an efficiency of ~15% and an alignment tolerance of ~100 μm. The coupling efficiency is more than 2 orders of magnitude, and the tolerance to misalignments is more than 30 times better than the corresponding values achievable by conventional techniques.
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