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26 February 2020 High-sensitivity plasmo-photonic interferometric sensors on a chip
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Optical refractive index (RI) sensors exploiting selective co-integration of plasmonics with silicon photonics in Lab-on-achip configurations are expected to disrupt Point-of-Care (POC) diagnostics, delivering performance and economic breakthroughs. Propagating surface-plasmon-polariton modes offer superior sensitivity due to their extreme overlap with the surrounding medium. In parallel, low-loss photonics act as the hosting platform with which the plasmonic losses can be sustained while allowing for multiplexed layouts via in-plane SPP excitation schemes. However, merging plasmonics with silicon photonics in a cost-effective manner, requires a truly CMOS-compatible manufacturing process. Herein, we demonstrate experimentally, the highest bulk-sensitivity among all the plasmo-photonic interferometric RI sensors, while taking the leap forward in the development of a CMOS-manufactured plasmo-photonic sensing platform merging Si3N4 photonics and aluminum plasmonics. The proposed structure relies on a butt-coupled interface between Si3N4 waveguides and a 70 μm long plasmonic stripe, deployed in one branch of a Mach-Zehnder Interferometer (MZI) serving as the sensing transducer that detects local changes in the refractive index. The lower MZI arm (reference arm) exploits the low-loss Si3N4 platform to deploy a MZI-based variable optical attenuator followed by a thermo-optic phase shifter to optimize the sensor performance achieving resonance extinction ratio values at the MZI output of more than 35 dB. Experimental evaluation of a gold-based sensor revealed a bulk refractive index sensitivity of 1930 nm/RIU. In addition, we experimentally demonstrate that the proposed plasmo-photonic waveguide platform can migrate from gold (Au) to Aluminum (Al), demonstrating the first step towards a fully CMOS compatible plasmo-photonic interferometric sensor.
Conference Presentation
© (2020) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
E. Chatzianagnostou, A. Manolis, G. Dabos, D. Ketzaki, B. Chmielak, A. L. Giesecke, C. Porschatis, P. J. Cegielski, S. Suckow, L. Markey, J.-C. Weeber, A. Dereux, S. Schrittwieser, R. Heer, N. Pleros, and D. Tsiokos "High-sensitivity plasmo-photonic interferometric sensors on a chip", Proc. SPIE 11284, Smart Photonic and Optoelectronic Integrated Circuits XXII, 112841V (26 February 2020);

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