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Special Issue "Photonic Crystal Sensors"

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A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Chemical Sensors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Brian T. Cunningham

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Department of Bioengineering, Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory, 208 N. Wright Street, Urbana, IL 61801, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: photonic crystal label free biosensors; photonic crystal enhance fluorescence; point of care sensors; nanofabrication; bionanotechnology; disease diagnostics; spectroscopy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleague,

Since the first formal studies of multi-layer dielectric stacks by Lord Rayleigh in 1887 and subsequent research that lead to the term “photonic crystal” to be coined by Eli Yablonovitch and Sajeev John in 1987, the mathematics that describe the formation of photonic band gaps, low loss waveguiding, and standing wave optical resonances have included terms for the physical dimensions of the structure and the refractive indices of the structure’s materials. As the menu of possible photonic crystal structures has grown to include 3-dimensional “woodpile” stacks, inverse opals, 2-dimensional slabs, guided mode resonant filters, and photonic crystal fiber, the menu of material choices has also expanded to include a cornucopia of possibilities that include silicon, compound semiconductors, dielectrics, and organic (carbon-based) media. It was perhaps inevitable that scientists would begin to manipulate the physical “constants” of these photonic crystal structures (period, thickness, refractive index) to transform photonic crystals into sensors.

In many respects, the photonic crystal is an ideal sensor system. By simply illuminating the structure with a laser, LED, or incandescent lamp, the reflected or transmitted spectrum reveals a great deal about its physical makeup. With the advent of miniature spectrometers, low-power LEDs, and semiconductor lasers, instrumentation for measuring the properties of photonic crystals has become miniature, inexpensive, and rugged. Meanwhile, the ability to inexpensively fabricate photonic crystal structures, despite their nanometer-scale features, has made remarkable advances, which now make them suitable even for sensor applications in which the device will be single-use disposable, as in point-of-care medical diagnostics. As a result, photonic crystal sensors allow high resolution and rapid measurement of structures within microfluidic channels, biomedical tubing, microtiter plates, test tubes, and flasks without the need for electrical contacts, a source of power on the device itself, or any direct physical contact to the detection instrument.

This special issue of Sensors journal will highlight many of the exciting sensing applications that utilize photonic crystal structures. We are soliciting papers that summarize scientifically novel and commercially important applications of photonic crystal structures as sensors. The issue will consider chemical, biological, optical, mechanical, thermal, magnetic, or any other signal transduction method that involves photonic crystal structures. Material systems involving polymers, silicon, compound semiconductors, dielectric stacks, optical fibers, self-assembled microspheres and others are all of interest.

Prof. Dr. Brian T. Cunningham
Guest Editor

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle An All Fiber Intrinsic Fabry-Perot Interferometer Based on an Air-Microcavity
Sensors 2013, 13(5), 6355-6364; doi:10.3390/s130506355
Received: 6 March 2013 / Revised: 2 May 2013 / Accepted: 13 May 2013 / Published: 14 May 2013
Cited by 18 | PDF Full-text (724 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this work an Intrinsic Fabry-Perot Interferometer (IFPI) based on an air-microcavity is presented. Here the air microcavity, with silica walls, is formed at a segment of a hollow core photonic crystal fiber (HCPCF), which is fusion spliced with a single mode fiber
[...] Read more.
In this work an Intrinsic Fabry-Perot Interferometer (IFPI) based on an air-microcavity is presented. Here the air microcavity, with silica walls, is formed at a segment of a hollow core photonic crystal fiber (HCPCF), which is fusion spliced with a single mode fiber (SMF). Moreover, the spectral response of the IFPI is experimentally characterized and some results are provided. Finally, the viability to use the IFPI to implement a simple, compact size, and low cost refractive index sensor is briefly analyzed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photonic Crystal Sensors)
Open AccessArticle Photonic Crystal Structures with Tunable Structure Color as Colorimetric Sensors
Sensors 2013, 13(4), 4192-4213; doi:10.3390/s130404192
Received: 4 January 2013 / Revised: 12 March 2013 / Accepted: 12 March 2013 / Published: 28 March 2013
Cited by 30 | PDF Full-text (1175 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Colorimetric sensing, which transduces environmental changes into visible color changes, provides a simple yet powerful detection mechanism that is well-suited to the development of low-cost and low-power sensors. A new approach in colorimetric sensing exploits the structural color of photonic crystals (PCs) to
[...] Read more.
Colorimetric sensing, which transduces environmental changes into visible color changes, provides a simple yet powerful detection mechanism that is well-suited to the development of low-cost and low-power sensors. A new approach in colorimetric sensing exploits the structural color of photonic crystals (PCs) to create environmentally-influenced color-changeable materials. PCs are composed of periodic dielectrics or metallo-dielectric nanostructures that affect the propagation of electromagnetic waves (EM) by defining the allowed and forbidden photonic bands. Simultaneously, an amazing variety of naturally occurring biological systems exhibit iridescent color due to the presence of PC structures throughout multi-dimensional space. In particular, some kinds of the structural colors in living organisms can be reversibly changed in reaction to external stimuli. Based on the lessons learned from natural photonic structures, some specific examples of PCs-based colorimetric sensors are presented in detail to demonstrate their unprecedented potential in practical applications, such as the detections of temperature, pH, ionic species, solvents, vapor, humidity, pressure and biomolecules. The combination of the nanofabrication technique, useful design methodologies inspired by biological systems and colorimetric sensing will lead to substantial developments in low-cost, miniaturized and widely deployable optical sensors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photonic Crystal Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle Selective Serial Multi-Antibody Biosensing with TOPAS Microstructured Polymer Optical Fibers
Sensors 2013, 13(3), 3242-3251; doi:10.3390/s130303242
Received: 17 January 2013 / Revised: 22 February 2013 / Accepted: 6 March 2013 / Published: 8 March 2013
Cited by 41 | PDF Full-text (449 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We have developed a fluorescence-based fiber-optical biosensor, which can selectively detect different antibodies in serial at preselected positions inside a single piece of fiber. The fiber is a microstructured polymer optical fiber fabricated from TOPAS cyclic olefin copolymer, which allows for UV activation
[...] Read more.
We have developed a fluorescence-based fiber-optical biosensor, which can selectively detect different antibodies in serial at preselected positions inside a single piece of fiber. The fiber is a microstructured polymer optical fiber fabricated from TOPAS cyclic olefin copolymer, which allows for UV activation of localized sensor layers inside the holes of the fiber. Serial fluorescence-based selective sensing of Cy3-labelled α-streptavidin and Cy5-labelled α-CRP antibodies is demonstrated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photonic Crystal Sensors)
Open AccessArticle Reconfigurable, Defect-Free, Ultrahigh-Q Photonic Crystal Microcavities for Sensing
Sensors 2013, 13(3), 3262-3269; doi:10.3390/s130303262
Received: 4 January 2013 / Revised: 24 February 2013 / Accepted: 5 March 2013 / Published: 8 March 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (717 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We propose a new approach for creating reconfigurable high-Q cavities in defect-free photonic crystal slabs (PCSs). The approach relies on selective air-hole infiltration in otherwise defect-free PCSs. We show that using this method we can design ultrahigh-Q microcavities, with Q~10
[...] Read more.
We propose a new approach for creating reconfigurable high-Q cavities in defect-free photonic crystal slabs (PCSs). The approach relies on selective air-hole infiltration in otherwise defect-free PCSs. We show that using this method we can design ultrahigh-Q microcavities, with Q~106. Numerical calculations indicate a large number of high-Q modes with high sensitivity, which are ideal for simultaneous, multi-parameter refractive index-based sensing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photonic Crystal Sensors)
Open AccessArticle Design Optimization of Structural Parameters for Highly Sensitive Photonic Crystal Label-Free Biosensors
Sensors 2013, 13(3), 3232-3241; doi:10.3390/s130303232
Received: 11 January 2013 / Revised: 11 February 2013 / Accepted: 1 March 2013 / Published: 7 March 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (873 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The effects of structural design parameters on the performance of nano-replicated photonic crystal (PC) label-free biosensors were examined by the analysis of simulated reflection spectra of PC structures. The grating pitch, duty, scaled grating height and scaled TiO2 layer thickness were selected
[...] Read more.
The effects of structural design parameters on the performance of nano-replicated photonic crystal (PC) label-free biosensors were examined by the analysis of simulated reflection spectra of PC structures. The grating pitch, duty, scaled grating height and scaled TiO2 layer thickness were selected as the design factors to optimize the PC structure. The peak wavelength value (PWV), full width at half maximum of the peak, figure of merit for the bulk and surface sensitivities, and surface/bulk sensitivity ratio were also selected as the responses to optimize the PC label-free biosensor performance. A parametric study showed that the grating pitch was the dominant factor for PWV, and that it had low interaction effects with other scaled design factors. Therefore, we can isolate the effect of grating pitch using scaled design factors. For the design of PC-label free biosensor, one should consider that: (1) the PWV can be measured by the reflection peak measurement instruments, (2) the grating pitch and duty can be manufactured using conventional lithography systems, and (3) the optimum design is less sensitive to the grating height and TiO2 layer thickness variations in the fabrication process. In this paper, we suggested a design guide for highly sensitive PC biosensor in which one select the grating pitch and duty based on the limitations of the lithography and measurement system, and conduct a multi objective optimization of the grating height and TiO2 layer thickness for maximizing performance and minimizing the influence of parameter variation. Through multi-objective optimization of a PC structure with a fixed grating height of 550 nm and a duty of 50%, we obtained a surface FOM of 66.18 RIU−1 and an S/B ratio of 34.8%, with a grating height of 117 nm and TiO2 height of 210 nm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photonic Crystal Sensors)
Figures

Open AccessArticle Photonic Crystal Biosensor Based on Optical Surface Waves
Sensors 2013, 13(2), 2566-2578; doi:10.3390/s130202566
Received: 11 January 2013 / Revised: 7 February 2013 / Accepted: 8 February 2013 / Published: 19 February 2013
Cited by 22 | PDF Full-text (2703 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A label-free biosensor device based on registration of photonic crystal surface waves is described. Angular interrogation of the optical surface wave resonance is used to detect changes in the thickness of an adsorbed layer, while an additional simultaneous detection of the critical angle
[...] Read more.
A label-free biosensor device based on registration of photonic crystal surface waves is described. Angular interrogation of the optical surface wave resonance is used to detect changes in the thickness of an adsorbed layer, while an additional simultaneous detection of the critical angle of total internal reflection provides independent data of the liquid refractive index. The abilities of the device are demonstrated by measuring of biotin molecule binding to a streptavidin monolayer, and by measuring association and dissociation kinetics of immunoglobulin G proteins. Additionally, deposition of PSS / PAH polyelectrolytes is recorded in situ resulting calculation of PSS and PAH monolayer thicknesses separately. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photonic Crystal Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle High-Visibility Photonic Crystal Fiber Interferometer as Multifunctional Sensor
Sensors 2013, 13(2), 2349-2358; doi:10.3390/s130202349
Received: 31 December 2012 / Accepted: 4 February 2013 / Published: 8 February 2013
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (762 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A photonic crystal fiber (PCF) interferometer that exhibits record fringe contrast (~40 dB) is demonstrated along with its sensing applications. The device operates in reflection mode and consists of a centimeter-long segment of properly selected PCF fusion spliced to single mode optical fibers.
[...] Read more.
A photonic crystal fiber (PCF) interferometer that exhibits record fringe contrast (~40 dB) is demonstrated along with its sensing applications. The device operates in reflection mode and consists of a centimeter-long segment of properly selected PCF fusion spliced to single mode optical fibers. Two identical collapsed zones in the PCF combined with its modal properties allow high-visibility interference patterns. The interferometer is suitable for refractometric and liquid level sensing. The measuring refractive index range goes from 1.33 to 1.43 and the maximum resolution is ~1.6 × 10−5. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photonic Crystal Sensors)
Figures

Open AccessArticle A Fluorescent One-Dimensional Photonic Crystal for Label-Free Biosensing Based on Bloch Surface Waves
Sensors 2013, 13(2), 2011-2022; doi:10.3390/s130202011
Received: 31 December 2012 / Revised: 29 January 2013 / Accepted: 4 February 2013 / Published: 5 February 2013
Cited by 20 | PDF Full-text (441 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A one-dimensional photonic crystal (1DPC) based on a planar stack of dielectric layers is used as an optical transducer for biosensing, upon the coupling of TE-polarized Bloch Surface Waves (BSW). The structure is tailored with a polymeric layer providing a chemical functionality facilitating
[...] Read more.
A one-dimensional photonic crystal (1DPC) based on a planar stack of dielectric layers is used as an optical transducer for biosensing, upon the coupling of TE-polarized Bloch Surface Waves (BSW). The structure is tailored with a polymeric layer providing a chemical functionality facilitating the covalent binding of orienting proteins needed for a subsequent grafting of antibodies in an immunoassay detection scheme. The polymeric layer is impregnated with Cy3 dye, in such a way that the photonic structure can exhibit an emissive behavior. The BSW-coupled fluorescence shift is used as a means for detecting refractive index variations occurring at the 1DPC surface, according to a label-free concept. The proposed working principle is successfully demonstrated in real-time tracking of protein G covalent binding on the 1DPC surface within a fluidic cell. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photonic Crystal Sensors)
Open AccessArticle Micro-Displacement Sensor Based on a Hollow-Core Photonic Crystal Fiber
Sensors 2012, 12(12), 17497-17503; doi:10.3390/s121217497
Received: 15 October 2012 / Revised: 3 December 2012 / Accepted: 12 December 2012 / Published: 17 December 2012
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (341 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A sensing head based on a hollow-core photonic crystal fiber for in-reflection measurement of micro-displacements is presented. The sensing structure takes advantage of the multimodal behavior of a short segment of hollow-core photonic crystal fiber in-reflection, being spliced to a single mode fiber
[...] Read more.
A sensing head based on a hollow-core photonic crystal fiber for in-reflection measurement of micro-displacements is presented. The sensing structure takes advantage of the multimodal behavior of a short segment of hollow-core photonic crystal fiber in-reflection, being spliced to a single mode fiber at its other end. A modal interferometer is obtained when the sensing head is close to a mirror, through which displacement is measured. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photonic Crystal Sensors)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Nanostructured Surfaces and Detection Instrumentation for Photonic Crystal Enhanced Fluorescence
Sensors 2013, 13(5), 5561-5584; doi:10.3390/s130505561
Received: 21 February 2013 / Revised: 26 March 2013 / Accepted: 27 March 2013 / Published: 26 April 2013
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (1373 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Photonic crystal (PC) surfaces have been demonstrated as a compelling platform for improving the sensitivity of surface-based fluorescent assays used in disease diagnostics and life science research. PCs can be engineered to support optical resonances at specific wavelengths at which strong electromagnetic fields
[...] Read more.
Photonic crystal (PC) surfaces have been demonstrated as a compelling platform for improving the sensitivity of surface-based fluorescent assays used in disease diagnostics and life science research. PCs can be engineered to support optical resonances at specific wavelengths at which strong electromagnetic fields are utilized to enhance the intensity of surface-bound fluorophore excitation. Meanwhile, the leaky resonant modes of PCs can be used to direct emitted photons within a narrow range of angles for more efficient collection by a fluorescence detection system. The multiplicative effects of enhanced excitation combined with enhanced photon extraction combine to provide improved signal-to-noise ratios for detection of fluorescent emitters, which in turn can be used to reduce the limits of detection of low concentration analytes, such as disease biomarker proteins. Fabrication of PCs using inexpensive manufacturing methods and materials that include replica molding on plastic, nano-imprint lithography on quartz substrates result in devices that are practical for single-use disposable applications. In this review, we will describe the motivation for implementing high-sensitivity fluorescence detection in the context of molecular diagnosis and gene expression analysis though the use of PC surfaces. Recent efforts to improve the design and fabrication of PCs and their associated detection instrumentation are summarized, including the use of PCs coupled with Fabry-Perot cavities and external cavity lasers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photonic Crystal Sensors)
Open AccessReview Photonic Crystal Sensors Based on Porous Silicon
Sensors 2013, 13(4), 4694-4713; doi:10.3390/s130404694
Received: 8 February 2013 / Revised: 26 March 2013 / Accepted: 3 April 2013 / Published: 9 April 2013
Cited by 36 | PDF Full-text (1099 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Porous silicon has been established as an excellent sensing platform for the optical detection of hazardous chemicals and biomolecular interactions such as DNA hybridization, antigen/antibody binding, and enzymatic reactions. Its porous nature provides a high surface area within a small volume, which can
[...] Read more.
Porous silicon has been established as an excellent sensing platform for the optical detection of hazardous chemicals and biomolecular interactions such as DNA hybridization, antigen/antibody binding, and enzymatic reactions. Its porous nature provides a high surface area within a small volume, which can be easily controlled by changing the pore sizes. As the porosity and consequently the refractive index of an etched porous silicon layer depends on the electrochemial etching conditions photonic crystals composed of multilayered porous silicon films with well-resolved and narrow optical reflectivity features can easily be obtained. The prominent optical response of the photonic crystal decreases the detection limit and therefore increases the sensitivity of porous silicon sensors in comparison to sensors utilizing Fabry-Pérot based optical transduction. Development of porous silicon photonic crystal sensors which allow for the detection of analytes by the naked eye using a simple color change or the fabrication of stacked porous silicon photonic crystals showing two distinct optical features which can be utilized for the discrimination of analytes emphasize its high application potential. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photonic Crystal Sensors)
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Open AccessReview Slotted Photonic Crystal Sensors
Sensors 2013, 13(3), 3675-3710; doi:10.3390/s130303675
Received: 5 January 2013 / Revised: 27 February 2013 / Accepted: 8 March 2013 / Published: 15 March 2013
Cited by 21 | PDF Full-text (1509 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Optical biosensors are increasingly being considered for lab-on-a-chip applications due to their benefits such as small size, biocompatibility, passive behaviour and lack of the need for fluorescent labels. The light guiding mechanisms used by many of them results in poor overlap of the
[...] Read more.
Optical biosensors are increasingly being considered for lab-on-a-chip applications due to their benefits such as small size, biocompatibility, passive behaviour and lack of the need for fluorescent labels. The light guiding mechanisms used by many of them results in poor overlap of the optical field with the target molecules, reducing the maximum sensitivity achievable. This review article presents a new platform for optical biosensors, namely slotted photonic crystals, which provide higher sensitivities due to their ability to confine, spatially and temporally, the optical mode peak within the analyte itself. Loss measurements showed values comparable to standard photonic crystals, confirming their ability to be used in real devices. A novel resonant coupler was designed, simulated, and experimentally tested, and was found to perform better than other solutions within the literature. Combining with cavities, microfluidics and biological functionalization allowed proof-of-principle demonstrations of protein binding to be carried out. Higher sensitivities were observed in smaller structures than possible with most competing devices reported in the literature. This body of work presents slotted photonic crystals as a realistic platform for complete on-chip biosensing; addressing key design, performance and application issues, whilst also opening up exciting new ideas for future study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photonic Crystal Sensors)

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