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13 March 2013 On-chip whispering-gallery-mode microlasers and their applications for nanoparticle sensing
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Whispering-Gallery-Mode (WGM) resonators are emerging as an excellent platform to study optical phenomena resulting from enhanced light-matter interactions due to their superior capability to confine photons for extended periods of time. The monolithic fabrication process to achieve ultra-high-Q WGM resonators without the need to align multiple optical components, as needed in traditional design of resonators based on precise arrangement of mirrors, is especially attractive. Here we explain how to process a layer of thin film doped with optical gain medium, which is prepared by wet chemical synthesis, into WGM structures on silicon wafer to achieve arrays of ultra-low threshold on-chip microlasers. We can adjust the dopant species and concentration easily by tailoring the chemical compositions in the precursor solution. Lasing in different spectral windows from visible to infrared was observed in the experiments. In particular, we investigated nanoparticle sensing applications of the on-chip WGM microlasers by taking advantages of the narrow linewidths and the splitting of lasing modes arising from their interactions with nano-scale structures. It has been found that a nanoparticle as small as ten nanometers in radius could split a lasing mode in a WGM resonator into two spectrally separated lasing lines. Subsequently, when these lasing lines are photo-mixed at a photodetector a heterodyne beat note is generated which can be processed to signal the detection of individual nanoparticles. We have demonstrated detection of virions, dielectric and metallic nanoparticles by monitoring the changes in this self-heterodyning beat note of the split lasing modes. The built-in self-heterodyne method achieved in this monolithic WGM microlaser provides an ultrasensitive scheme for detecting and measuring nanoparticles at single particle resolution, with a theoretical detection limit of one nanometer.
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S. K. Ozdemir, L. He, J. Zhu, F. Monifi, W. Kim, O. Kenechukwu, H. Yilmaz, S. H. Huang, and L. Yang "On-chip whispering-gallery-mode microlasers and their applications for nanoparticle sensing ", Proc. SPIE 8627, Integrated Optics: Devices, Materials, and Technologies XVII, 86270N (13 March 2013);

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