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Compact tunable microfluidic interferometer

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We demonstrate a compact tunable filter based on a novel microfluidic single beam Mach-Zehnder interferometer. The optical path difference occurs during propagation across a fluid-air interface (meniscus), the inherent mobility of which provides tunability. Optical losses are minimized by optimizing the meniscus shape through surface treatment. Optical spectra are compared to a 3D beam propagation method simulations and good agreement is found. Tunability, low insertion loss and strength of the resonance are well reproduced. The device performance displays a resonance depth of -28 dB and insertion loss maintained at -4 dB.

©2004 Optical Society of America

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Figures (8)

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1. (a) Schematic of a Mach-Zehnder interferometer. (b) Compact microfluidic single beam mach-Zehnder: the incident beam (left) is split by the refractive index interface, after which the beams interfere, creating a resonant response
Fig. 2.
Fig. 2. Spectral response for the tunable microfludic interferometer using analytic expressions. The different lines give the response for different interface locations as depicted in the schematic insets shown right. The inset graph summarizes the resonance depth at 1.31 μm as a function of meniscus detuning.
Fig. 3.
Fig. 3. Side (left) and top (right) view of the experimental setup. The square capillary is sandwiched between two SMFs. Index matching fluid around the device ensures no air gaps.
Fig. 4.
Fig. 4. Comparison between the untreated (left) and the treated (right) capillary. In the treated case, the meniscus is virtually flat and perpendicular to the capillary surface.
Fig. 5.
Fig. 5. Experimental (solid line) spectral response of the device as compared to 3D BPM numerical simulation (dashed line) when the meniscus is well-centered
Fig. 6.
Fig. 6. Field intensity plots from a 3D BPM simulation geometry used to model the device. In this example the beam is launched at the resonance wavelength, and a meniscus displacement of a=-4 is used. Left is a side view and right a top view, similar to Fig 3.
Fig. 7.
Fig. 7. A series of experimental (left), simulation spectra (right) as the water interface moves across the incident beam.
Fig. 8.
Fig. 8. Optical response of the device as a function of meniscus detuning regarding the beam center from experiment (solid line) and 3D simulation (dashed line).

Equations (2)

Equations on this page are rendered with MathJax. Learn more.

I = I 1 + I 2 + 2 cos ( δ ) I 1 I 2 ,
I = I 0 ( A 0 + 2 A 1 ( a ) [ A 0 A 1 ( a ) ] cos δ ) ,


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