Hybrid nanoplasmonic-nanophotonic devices for on-chip biochemical sensing and spectroscopy
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Hybrid plasmonic-photonic structures were introduced as novel platforms for on-chip biochemical sensing and spectroscopy. By appropriate coupling of photonic and plasmonic modes, a hybrid architecture was realized that can benefit from the advantages of integrated photonics such as the low propagation loss, ultra-high Q modes, and robustness, as well as the advantages of nanoplasmonics such as extreme light localization, large sensitivities, and ultra-high field enhancements to bring about unique performance advantages for efficient on-chip sensing. These structures are highly sensitive and can effectively interact with the target biological and chemical molecules. It was shown that interrogation of single plasmonic nanoparticles is possible using a hybrid waveguide and microresonator-based structure, in which light is efficiently coupled from photonic structures to the integrated plasmonic structures. The design, implementation, and experimental demonstration of hybrid plasmonic-photonic structures for lab-on-chip biochemical sensing applications were discussed. The design goal was to achieve novel, robust, highly efficient, and high-throughput devices for on-chip sensing. The sensing scenarios of interest were label-free refractive index sensing and SERS. Nanofabrication processes were developed to realize the hybrid plasmonic-photonic structures. Silicon nitride was used as the material platform to realize the integrated photonic structure, and gold was used to realize plasmonic nanostructures. Special optical characterization setups were designed and implemented to test the performance of these nanoplasmonic and nanophotonic structures. The integration of the hybrid plasmonic-photonic structures with microfluidics was also optimized and demonstrated. The hybrid plasmonic-photonic-fluidic structures were used to detect different analytes at different concentrations. A complete course of research from design, fabrication, and characterization to demonstration of sensing applications was conducted to realize nanoplasmonic and integrated photonic structures. The novel structures developed in this research can open up new potentials for biochemical sensors with advanced on-chip functionalities and enhanced performances.