Biosensors based on silicon photonic integrated circuits have attracted a growing interest in recent years. The use of sub-micron silicon waveguides to propagate near-infrared light allows for the drastic reduction of the optical system size, while increasing its complexity and sensitivity. Using silicon as the propagating medium also leverages the fabrication capabilities of CMOS foundries, which offer low-cost mass production. Researchers have deeply investigated photonic sensor devices, such as ring resonators, interferometers and photonic crystals, but the practical integration of silicon photonic biochips as part of a complete system has received less attention. Herein, we present a practical system-level architecture which can be employed to integrate the aforementioned photonic biosensors. We describe a system based on 1 mm2 dies that integrate germanium photodetectors and a single light coupling device. The die are embedded into a 16x16 mm2 epoxy package to enable microfluidic and electrical integration. First, we demonstrate a simple process to mimic Fan-Out Wafer-level-Packaging, which enables low-cost mass production. We then characterize the photodetectors in the photovoltaic mode, which exhibit high sensitivity at low optical power. Finally, we present a new grating coupler concept to relax the lateral alignment tolerance down to ± 50 μm at 1-dB (80%) power penalty, which should permit non-experts to use the biochips in a“plug-and-play” style. The system-level integration demonstrated in this study paves the way towards the mass production of low-cost and highly sensitive biosensors, and can facilitate their wide adoption for biomedical and agro-environmental applications.
L. Laplatine, O. Al'Mrayat, E. Luan, C. Fang, S. Rezaiezadeh, D. M. Ratner, K. Cheung, Y. Dattner, and L. Chrostowski, "System-level integration of active silicon photonic biosensors," Proc. SPIE 10061, Microfluidics, BioMEMS, and Medical Microsystems XV, 100610I (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 29, 2017; Published: 28 February 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2256068.
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