Single nanobeam optical sensor with a high Q-factor and high sensitivity

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Journal Article
Optics Letters, 2015, 40 (22), pp. 5351 - 5354
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© 2015 Optical Society of America. The miniaturization of optical sensors is essential for the realization of compact, portable, and cost-effective devices. Photonic crystal-based optical sensors, which have an ultra-small mode volume and footprint, have demonstrated remarkable recent progress in achieving a high figure-of-merit (FOM) in a sensor. Here, we report an optical sensor with a high Q-factor and high sensitivity based on a photonic crystal nanobeam using the second lowest air band-edge mode. We calculated that a nanobeam (n = 3.4) in a water environment (n = 1.33) has refractive-index sensitivity of ∼631 nm/RIU, while the quality factor is greater than 23,300. Accordingly, a theoretical FOM of the sensor corresponds to >9500. To the best of our knowledge, experimental refractive-index sensitivity of 461 nm/RIU is the highest value among photonic crystal single nanobeam geometry. The simple geometry of uniform air hole sizes and lattice constants in the proposed nanobeam sensor allows easy fabrication and mechanical stability.
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