Special Issue "Photonic Crystal Sensors"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2012)
Prof. Dr. Brian T. Cunningham (Website)
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Department of Bioengineering, Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory, 208 N. Wright Street, Urbana, IL 61801, USA
Interests: photonic crystal label free biosensors; photonic crystal enhance fluorescence; point of care sensors; nanofabrication; bionanotechnology; disease diagnostics; spectroscopy
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