Focused ion beam technology is combined with dynamic chemical etching to create microcavities in tapered optical fiber tips, resulting in fiber probes for temperature and refractive index sensing. Dynamic chemical etching uses hydrofluoric acid and a syringe pump to etch standard optical fibers into cone structures called tapered fiber tips where the length, shape, and cone angle can be precisely controlled. On these tips, focused ion beam is used to mill several different types of Fabry-Perot microcavities. Two main cavity types are initially compared and then combined to form a third, complex cavity structure. In the first case, a gap is milled on the tapered fiber tip which allows the external medium to penetrate the light guiding region and thus presents sensitivity to external refractive index changes. In the second, two slots that function as mirrors are milled on the tip creating a silica cavity that is only sensitive to temperature changes. Finally, both cavities are combined on a single tapered fiber tip, resulting in a multi-cavity structure capable of discriminating between temperature and refractive index variations. This dual characterization is performed with the aid of a fast Fourier transform method to separate the contributions of each cavity and thus of temperature and refractive index. Ultimately, a tapered optical fiber tip probe with sub-standard dimensions containing a multi-cavity structure is projected, fabricated, characterized and applied as a sensing element for simultaneous temperature and refractive index discrimination.
Ricardo M. André, Stephen C. Warren-Smith, Martin Becker, Jan Dellith, Manfred Rothhardt, M. I. Zibaii, H. Latifi, Manuel B. Marques, Hartmut Bartelt, and Orlando Frazão, "Tapered optical fiber tip probes based on focused ion beam-milled Fabry-Perot microcavities," Proc. SPIE 9927, Nanoengineering: Fabrication, Properties, Optics, and Devices XIII, 99270R (Presented at SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering: August 31, 2016; Published: 15 September 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2236321.
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