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Sensors 2013, 13(11), 14601-14610; doi:10.3390/s131114601

A Highly Sensitive Refractometric Sensor Based on Cascaded SiN Microring Resonators

Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich Hertz Institute, Einsteinufer 37, Berlin 10587, Germany
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Received: 19 August 2013 / Revised: 18 October 2013 / Accepted: 24 October 2013 / Published: 28 October 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photonic Sensors for Industrial, Environmental and Health Monitoring)
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Abstract

We investigate a highly sensitive optical sensor based on two cascaded microring resonators exploiting the Vernier effect. The architecture consists of two microrings with a slight difference in their free spectral ranges. This allows the generation of the Vernier effect for achieving ultra-high sensitivities. The sensor chip was fabricated using a silicon nitride platform and characterized with isopropanol/ethanol mixtures. A sensitivity of 0.95 nm/% was found for isopropanol concentrations in ethanol ranging from 0% to 10%. Furthermore, a collection of measurements was carried out using aqueous sodium chloride (NaCl) in solutions of different concentrations, confirming a high sensitivity of 10.3 nm/% and a bulk refractive index sensitivity of 6,317 nm/RIU. A limit of detection of 3.16 ´ 10−6 RIU was determined. These preliminary results show the potential features of cascaded silicon nitride microring resonators for real-time and free-label monitoring of biomolecules for a broad range of applications.
Keywords: microring resonators; refractometric sensors; Vernier effect; silicon nitride; integrated optical devices microring resonators; refractometric sensors; Vernier effect; silicon nitride; integrated optical devices
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Zamora, V.; Lützow, P.; Weiland, M.; Pergande, D. A Highly Sensitive Refractometric Sensor Based on Cascaded SiN Microring Resonators. Sensors 2013, 13, 14601-14610.

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