The response of etched fiber Bragg grating (EFBG) functionalized with 29-mer DNA aptamer to the different concentrations of Thrombin protein has been investigated. Etched FBGs are an efficient technology for detection of refractive index, and have been demonstrated also for biosensors applications. EFBGs have a simpler manufacturing approach comparing to other methodologies and are based on a low-cost device; their fabrication can be achieved by simple chemical etching, without requiring fusion splicing. During the test we assessed its feasibility for small variations of thrombin concentrations (10μg/ml, 20μg/ml, 40μg/ml and 80μg/ml). In particular, we performed experiments of chemical etching with hydrofluoric acid, which progressively depletes the fiber cladding exposing the core to the outer medium. Additionally, unstriped not etched FBGs were also used as a control for temperature pattern compensation. Before functionalization, EFBG was calibrated with different sucrose and ethanol solutions that validated the sensitivity to refractive index change. EFBG was further silanized with 3-Aminopropyl-triethoxysilane (APTES) in order to immobilize Thrombin binding aptamer on the silica surface of the fiber. The change of Bragg wavelength when functionalized EFBG is exposed to different concentrations of Thrombin using Micron Optics Hyperion si255-x55 sensing system was demonstrated. A small yet detectable sensitivity (several tens of nanomolars) even between small protein variations allows hypothesizing a future use of this kind of functionalized fiber for biosensor development.
In this work, partially etched chirped fiber Bragg grating (pECFBG) for the real-time multi-parameter measurement of temperature and refractive index is proposed. The sensor is fabricated by wet-etching a portion of a linearly chirped FBG with linear chirp profile. Obtained CFBG has two active areas: the unetched part of the grating that can be used either as a uniform temperature sensor, or to detect thermal gradients experienced through the grating length; the etched part, besides having a similar thermal sensitivity, is exposed to refractive index sensing through the variations of external refractive index. Overall, the pECFBG structure behaves as a compact sensor with multi-parameter capability, that can both measure temperature and refractive index on the same grating, but also spatially resolve temperature detection through the grating section. The results have been validated through both a model and experimental setup, showing that the mutual correlation algorithm applied to different spectral parts of the grating is able to discriminate between uniform and gradient-shaped temperature profiles, and refractive index changes. The reflected spectra showed a clear correlation between the RI change of the surrounding media and spectral shift with temperature variations.
Fiber optic sensors represent an attractive alternative in chemical, bio-chemical and medical applications. Their success can be retrieved in their peculiar properties such as: electromagnetic interference immunity, fast response, high sensitivity, and small size. In this context, Fiber Bragg Gratings (FBGs) play a key role in applications like measurements of temperature and strain. The mechanism of FBGs is related to the dependence between the characteristic wavelength reflected by the FBG and the effective index of the modes propagating inside the fibers. This property can be exploited to engineer a new and inexpensive class of FBG devices for measuring refractive index of solutions. By reducing the cladding thickness of the single mode fiber, where the FBG is inscribed, the structure becomes three layers and the modes guidance properties become more and more dependent on the external environment, including the refractive index of the solution to measure. In this work, an FBG has been etched by a solution of HF acid and immersed in different solutions of water and sucrose. Results show a strong multi-modal behavior induced by the guidance properties of the three-layer system. The reflected spectra, characterized by a large band whose width, are strictly dependent on the sucrose concentration in solution. As the sucrose increases, the refractive index of the solution increases. The bandwidth reduces, showing a wavelength shift toward longer wavelength. While the wavelength shift is not so relevant the variation of the bandwidth is significant, suggesting an effective interrogation method based on wavelet signal processing.