A Highly Sensitive, Integrable, Multimode, Evanescent-Wave Chem/bio Sensor
Lillie, Jeffrey J
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A fully integrated optical chem/bio sensor complete with integrated source, chemically sensitive waveguide, detector arrays, and associated signal processing electronics on a Si-CMOS chip is a challenging, but highly desirable goal. An evanescent-wave multimode interferometric sensing element is a sensitive method for sensing, which is easily integrated on Si-CMOS. This work is concerned with the design, analysis, and demonstration of a planar multimode interferometric chem/bio sensor that is compatible with the fabrication constraints of Si-CMOS. A 4000-micron-long interferometric that can be adapted for different agents by a particular sensing layer has been fabricated on silicon using silicon dioxide and silicon oxynitride. Hexaflouro-isopropanol substituted polynorbornene is the sensing layer. This sensor has also been fabricated on a Si-CMOS circuit with embedded photodetectors. A sensor on silicon was demonstrated with a minimum detectable index change of 2.0x10-6 using an accurate gas delivery system and a custom hermetic waveguide test chamber. A modal pattern analysis strategy has also been developed to extract the optimal SNR from the measured modal patterns. An understanding of the noise processes and spatial bandwidth effects has enabled an experimentally-based prediction of the index sensitivity of a fully integrated multimode chem/bio sensor on Si-CMOS at 9.2 x10-7. Theoretically, the sensitivity enhancement of high over low index sensing layers and transverse-magnetic over transverse electric modes is described. Also, the sensitivity enhancement of higher-order-transverse modes has been quantified. The wide-angle beam propagation method has been used to simulate the sensor. This simulation showed the relation between the modal pattern repetition period and sensor sensitivity. Further, the modal coupling properties of the multimode y-junction have been described. A second multimode y-junction has been designed to change the modal excitation under the SL, and thus the sensitivity. The chemo-optic response of the `substituted polynorbornene' polymer., hexaflouro-isopropanol substituted polynorbornene to methanol, water, iso-propanol, and benzene has been measured. Also, its thermo-optic response has been measured. Athermal interferometric chem/bio sensors have then been suggested.