2 February 2012 Amorphous photonic membranes for broadband chemical sensing applications
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While there has been extensive development on integrated sensors in the near-IR region due to the maturation of Si, SOI, and III-V materials, these technologies are not easily translated into the visible and near-UV regions which are critical for the detection of many chemicals of environmental and security interest. This work focuses on the use of wide bandgap, amorphous materials, specifically, amorphous zinc oxide (a-ZnO), amorphous hafnium oxide (a-HfO2) and amorphous beryllium zinc oxide (a-BeZnO), in the development of broadband chemical sensors operating at critical absorption lines spanning the near-UV (200 nm) to the near-IR (1.55 μm). The architecture employed for this research is a nanoscale membrane (typically 40 - 100 nm thick) that supports a guided low optical overlap mode (LOOM) - an optical mode in which approximately 1% of the electric field is confined to the lossy core region. The resulting extended mode has a greatly enhanced analyte overlap, yielding a device sensitivity (~70%) that is over an order of magnitude higher than current high-performance, dielectric evanescent wave sensors (~2%) as modeled by analytical and finite element methods. Due to the extended nature of the LOOM, sensing across the entire spectral range can be achieved with a single waveguide design - critical for multi-point chemical sensing architectures.
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Sonja P. Abbey, Ralph D. Whaley, "Amorphous photonic membranes for broadband chemical sensing applications", Proc. SPIE 8264, Integrated Optics: Devices, Materials, and Technologies XVI, 82640Q (2 February 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.908779; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.908779

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