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Ultrasensitive photonic crystal fiber refractive index sensor

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Abstract

We introduce a microfluidic refractive index sensor based on a directional coupler architecture using solid-core photonic crystal fibers. The sensor achieves very high sensitivity by coupling the core mode to a mode in the adjacent fluid-filled waveguide that is beyond modal cutoff, and with strong field overlap. We demonstrate the device through the selective infiltration of a single hole with fluid along a microstructured optical fiber. A detection limit of 4.6×107 refractive index units has been derived from measurements with a sensitivity of 30,100nm per refractive index unit, which is the highest for a fiber device to date.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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