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Sensors 2018, 18(3), 840; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18030840

Integrated Optical Mach-Zehnder Interferometer Based on Organic-Inorganic Hybrids for Photonics-on-a-Chip Biosensing Applications

1
Department of Physics and CICECO—Aveiro Institute of Materials, University of Aveiro, 3810–193 Aveiro, Portugal
2
Instituto de Telecomunicações, University of Aveiro, 3810–193 Aveiro, Portugal
3
Department of Electronics, Telecommunications and Informatics, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
4
Department of Biology and CESAM, University of Aveiro, 3810–193 Aveiro, Portugal
5
Department of Chemistry and CESAM, University of Aveiro, 3810–193 Aveiro, Portugal
6
Department of Electric and Computer Engineering and Instituto de Telecomunicações, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, 1049-001 Lisbon, Portugal
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 February 2018 / Revised: 26 February 2018 / Accepted: 8 March 2018 / Published: 12 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lab-on-a-Chip–From Point of Care to Precision Medicine)
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Abstract

The development of portable low-cost integrated optics-based biosensors for photonics-on-a-chip devices for real-time diagnosis are of great interest, offering significant advantages over current analytical methods. We report the fabrication and characterization of an optical sensor based on a Mach-Zehnder interferometer to monitor the growing concentration of bacteria in a liquid medium. The device pattern was imprinted on transparent self-patternable organic-inorganic di-ureasil hybrid films by direct UV-laser, reducing the complexity and cost production compared with lithographic techniques or three-dimensional (3D) patterning using femtosecond lasers. The sensor performance was evaluated using, as an illustrative example, E. coli cell growth in an aqueous medium. The measured sensitivity (2 × 10−4 RIU) and limit of detection (LOD = 2 × 10−4) are among the best values known for low-refractive index contrast sensors. Furthermore, the di-ureasil hybrid used to produce this biosensor has additional advantages, such as mechanical flexibility, thermal stability, and low insertion losses due to fiber-device refractive index mismatch (~1.49). Therefore, the proposed sensor constitutes a direct, compact, fast, and cost-effective solution for monitoring the concentration of lived-cells. View Full-Text
Keywords: photonic; integrated optics; sol-gel; biosensors; E. coli; organic-inorganic hybrid photonic; integrated optics; sol-gel; biosensors; E. coli; organic-inorganic hybrid
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Bastos, A.R.; Vicente, C.M.S.; Oliveira-Silva, R.; Silva, N.J.O.; Tacão, M.; Costa, J.P.; Lima, M.; André, P.S.; Ferreira, R.A.S. Integrated Optical Mach-Zehnder Interferometer Based on Organic-Inorganic Hybrids for Photonics-on-a-Chip Biosensing Applications. Sensors 2018, 18, 840.

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