Multiplexed label-free integrated photonic biosensors
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Optics and photonics enable important technological solutions for critical areas such as health, communications, energy, and manufacturing. Novel nanofabrication techniques, on the other hand, have enabled the realization of ever shirking devices. On-chip photonic micro-resonators, the fabrication of which was made possible in the recent decade thanks to the progress in nanofabrication, provide a sensitive and scalable transduction mechanism that can be used for biochemical sensing applications. The recognition and quantification of biological molecules is of great interest for a wide range of applications from environmental monitoring and hazard detection to early diagnosis of diseases such as cancer and heart failure. A sensitive and scalable biosensor platform based on an optimized array of silicon nitride microring resonators is proposed for multiplexed, rapid, and label-free detection of biomolecules. The miniature dimension of the proposed sensor allows for the realization of handheld detection devices for limited-resource and point-of-care applications. To realize these sensors, the design, fabrication, stabilization, and integration challenges are addressed. Especially, the focus is placed on solving a major problem in using resonancebased integrated photonic sensors (i.e., the insufficiency of wavelength scan accuracy in typical tunable lasers available) by using an interferometric referencing technique for accurate resonance tracking. This technique can improve the limit of detection of the proposed sensor by more than one order of magnitude. The method does not require any temperature control or cooling, and the biosensor platform does not require narrow linewidths necessary for the biosensors based on ultrahigh quality factor resonators, thus enabling low-cost and reliable integration on the biosensor platform.