The “Lab-on-Fiber” technology is an emerging research field which basically envisages the integration of functionalized materials and devices at micro- and nano-scale (i.e. the ‘labs’) with optical fibers, aimed to develop a novel generation of advanced “all-in-fiber” miniaturized probes, exploitable in many strategic sectors ranging from optical processing to environmental monitoring, life science, safety and security. The key concept is to transform an inert optical fiber into a multifunctional sensor where ultra compact labs are developed and ‘shrinked’ into a single optical fiber, thus destructively enlarging the conventional optical fiber sensors functionalities. Fusing the world of highly functionalized materials at nano- and microscale within a single optical fiber is providing the implementation of miniaturized and advanced “all-in-fiber” technological platforms as sophisticate multifunction sensing and actuating systems. At the same time, Microgels (MGs) are increasingly receiving attention by the photonics community as direct sensing materials for environmentally responsive systems. MGs are colloidal stable hydrogel particles that can be functionalized to respond to changes in temperature, pH, ionic strength, metal ions, antigens, and the presence of a number of biomolecules. Integration of smart responsive microgel with optical fiber is now opening a new route to the ”microgel photonics” technology focused on the development of novel advanced and multiresponsive optical probes with enhanced functionalities, especially exploitable for biosensing applications.
The talk will address perspectives and challenges of this promising technological vision which can be in turn considered as a new relevant milestone in the Lab on Fiber Technology roadmap.
Andrea Cusano, "Is lab-on-fiber technology more than a simple vision? (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10536, Smart Photonic and Optoelectronic Integrated Circuits XX, 105360J (Presented at SPIE OPTO: January 30, 2018; Published: 14 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2296371.5751513307001.
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