Compact silicon diffractive sensor: design, fabrication, and functional demonstration
Maikisch, Jonathan Stephen
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The primary objective of the presented research is to develop a class of integrated compact silicon diffractive sensors (CSDS) based on in-plane diffraction gratings. This class of sensors uses a silicon-on-insulator (SOI) substrate to limit costs, exploit established fabrication processes, enable integration of supporting electronics, and use the well-understood telecommunications wavelength of 1.55µm. Sensing is achieved by combining constant-diffraction-efficiency and highly-angularly-selective in-plane resonance-domain diffraction gratings. Detection is based on the diffraction efficiency of the highly angularly selective grating. In this research, the design processes for the constant-diffraction-efficiency and the highly angularly selective gratings are detailed. Grating designs are optimized with rigorous coupled-wave analysis (RCWA) and simulated with finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) analysis. Fabrication results are presented for the CSDS gratings. An inductively coupled plasma (ICP) Bosch etch process enables grating fabrication to within one percent of designed values with nearly vertical sidewalls. Experimental results are presented for individual CSDS gratings, the prototype sensor, and a prototype linear sensor array. The results agree well with simulation. The linear sensor array prototype demonstrates the intrinsic splitting mechanism and forms the basis of a 2-D sensor array. Finally, a toluene sensor was functionally demonstrated. The proof-of-concept device includes a polymer immobilization layer and microfluidic delivery of toluene. Toluene concentrations as low as 100ppm are measured, corresponding to a refractive index change of 3x10⁻⁴ RIU.