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Micromachines 2017, 8(4), 98; doi:10.3390/mi8040098

Aerogels for Optofluidic Waveguides

1
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Koc University, 34450 Sarıyer, Istanbul, Turkey
2
Department of Physics, Koc University, 34450 Sarıyer, Istanbul, Turkey
3
Department of Physics, Istanbul Technical University, 34469 Maslak, Istanbul, Turkey
4
Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Koc University, 34450 Sarıyer, Istanbul, Turkey
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Wei Wang, Chia-Hung Chen and Zhigang Wu
Received: 7 January 2017 / Revised: 16 March 2017 / Accepted: 17 March 2017 / Published: 29 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optofluidics 2016)

Abstract

Aerogels—solid materials keeping their internal structure of interconnected submicron-sized pores intact upon exchanging the pore liquid with a gas—were first synthesized in 1932 by Samuel Kistler. Overall, an aerogel is a special form of a highly porous material with a very low solid density and it is composed of individual nano-sized particles or fibers that are connected to form a three-dimensional network. The unique properties of these materials, such as open pores and high surface areas, are attributed to their high porosity and irregular solid structure, which can be tuned through proper selection of the preparation conditions. Moreover, their low refractive index makes them a remarkable solid-cladding material for developing liquid-core optofluidic waveguides based on total internal reflection of light. This paper is a comprehensive review of the literature on the use of aerogels for optofluidic waveguide applications. First, an overview of different types of aerogels and their physicochemical properties is presented. Subsequently, possible techniques to fabricate channels in aerogel monoliths are discussed and methods to make the channel surfaces hydrophobic are described in detail. Studies in the literature on the characterization of light propagation in liquid-filled channels within aerogel monoliths as well as their light-guiding characteristics are discussed. Finally, possible applications of aerogel-based optofluidic waveguides are described. View Full-Text
Keywords: aerogels; optofluidics; optical waveguides; microfluidics; nanostructured materials; microchannels; laser ablation aerogels; optofluidics; optical waveguides; microfluidics; nanostructured materials; microchannels; laser ablation
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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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MDPI and ACS Style

Özbakır, Y.; Jonas, A.; Kiraz, A.; Erkey, C. Aerogels for Optofluidic Waveguides. Micromachines 2017, 8, 98.

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