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Planar Fiber-Optic Chips for Broadband Spectroscopic Interrogation of Thin Films

Volume 61, Number 6 (June 2007) Page 585-592

Beam, Brooke M.; Shallcross, R. Clayton; Jang, Jinuk; Armstrong, Neal R.; Mendes, Sergio B.


A planar fiber-optic chip (FOC) has been developed using side-polished optical fibers and characterized for broadband absorbance and fluorescence detection of molecular films. FOC technology combines the sensitivity of an attenuated total reflection (ATR) element with the ease of use of fiber-optic-based spectrometers and light sources to create an improved platform for spectroscopic analysis of molecular adsorbates. A multi-mode optical fiber (core diameter = 50 μm, numerical aperture = 0.22, stepped refractive index profile) mounted in a glass V-groove block was side-polished to create a planar platform that allows access to the evanescent field escaping from the fiber core. For this generation of FOC technology, the exposed evanescent field has an interaction length of approximately 17.2 mm. The FOC platform was independently characterized through measurements of thin-film and bulk absorbing samples. The device performance was compared to the existing ATR technology and methods for increasing sensitivity of the FOC were investigated and validated. Additionally, we have demonstrated the ability of the FOC to both evanescently excite and collect fluorescence through guided modes of the optical fiber for a surface-confined luminescent semiconductor nanoparticle film (4 nm diameter, ligand capped, CdSe core). The FOC described here with a supported planar interface can facilitate the use of conventional planar deposition technologies and provide a robust planar platform that is amenable for incorporation into various sensor technologies.