Advances in nuclear fuel reprocessing have led to a surging need for novel chemical analysis tools. In this paper, we present a packaged lab-on-chip approach with co-integration of optical and micro-fluidic functions on a glass substrate as a solution. A chip was built and packaged to obtain light/fluid interaction in order for the entire device to make spectral measurements using the photo spectroscopy absorption principle. The interaction between the analyte solution and light takes place at the boundary between a waveguide and a fluid micro-channel thanks to the evanescent part of the waveguide’s guided mode that propagates into the fluid. The waveguide was obtained via ion exchange on a glass wafer. The input and the output of the waveguides were pigtailed with standard single mode optical fibers. The micro-scale fluid channel was elaborated with a lithography procedure and hydrofluoric acid wet etching resulting in a 150±8 μm deep channel. The channel was designed with fluidic accesses, in order for the chip to be compatible with commercial fluidic interfaces/chip mounts. This allows for analyte fluid in external capillaries to be pumped into the device through micro-pipes, hence resulting in a fully packaged chip. In order to produce this co-integrated structure, two substrates were bonded. A study of direct glass wafer-to-wafer molecular bonding was carried-out to improve detector sturdiness and durability and put forward a bonding protocol with a bonding surface energy of γ>2.0 J.m-2. Detector viability was shown by obtaining optical mode measurements and detecting traces of 1.2 M neodymium (Nd) solute in 12±1 μL of 0.01 M and pH 2 nitric acid (HNO3) solvent by obtaining an absorption peak specific to neodymium at 795 nm.
We present a new integrated optical sensor for absorption spectroscopy in a hostile environment, based on a nanochannel waveguide structure in glass. The nanochannel waveguide is made by bonding two ion-exchanged borosilicate glass wafers, one of them being etched by reactive ion etching to create a 100 nm deep fluidic channel. Typical fluid/light interaction factors of 2.3 % can be achieved inside a 7.4 pL volume of fluid, over a 550 nm bandwidth, surmounting evanescent wave sensors in terms of confinement efficiency and allowing spectrometric measurements. Absorption measurements have been performed on hexahydrate neodymium nitrate in nitric acid solutions of various concentrations leading to a minimum detectable absorption coefficient of 0.57 cm-1, which can be further decreased by implementing low bending-loss spiral-like nanochannel waveguides.