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ECE PhD Proposal Review: Vedant Sumaria
January 20, 2022 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
PhD Proposal Review: Exploring Micro-Machined Glass Shell Resonators For Sensor Application
Abstract: Optical resonators have been playing an important role in modern optics. They are fundamental in any laser device, etalon for optical filtering, accurate measurement for non-linear optics. Bulk optical resonators that use two or more mirrors are usually used in all branches of modern linear and non-linear optics. There are many limitations in using such systems because they cannot provide high performance (high quality (Q) factor) and their size, weight, and alignment, creates stability problems. To solve these problems, there was an emerging class of miniaturized dielectric cavity based optical resonators that exploited the light confinement phenomenon through internal reflection. These resonators have a circular symmetry, and they sustain modes known as the Whispering Gallery Modes (WGM) that is nothing but electromagnetic waves that circulate and are confined within the structure. Fabrication of these dielectric optical resonators is simpler and comparatively inexpensive. They demonstrate higher mode stability and higher performance.
In this proposal review, I will discuss the working principles of a WGM resonator and study the various loss mechanisms to improve the quality factor. Further I will discuss the fabrication of on chip glass-blown microspherical shell resonators. These on-chip spherical glass shells are micrometers to millimeters in diameter with ultra-smooth surfaces and micrometer wall thicknesses which can sustain optical resonance modes with high Q-factors up to 50 million. Further we discuss various methods used to etch the backside silicon to create a liquid core optical resonator. This etching leads to increase in the surface roughness leading to loss of resonance. We optimized etching methods and parameters to keep the resonance as high as 18 million. By etching the silicon resonator’s temperature sensitivity is improved from -1.15 GHz/K to 2.23 GHz/K. This optical WGM sensor is then novel biosensor consisting of a chip-scale whispering gallery mode resonators with High-Q factor and a micro-caloric system. The silicon released shell resonator is elastically coupled to a kapton tubing system. Temperature change in the system induces thermal expansion and thermorefractive changes which can be sensitively monitored through changes in the optical resonance characteristics. We demonstrate a measurement resolution less than 10mK and a method of measuring temperature change to eliminate background noise that shows a great potential for detection of various biomolecules such as urea. We also discuss the possibility to use the sensor as an extremely sensitive IR sensor. Finally, we talk about the future work in immobilization of urease and glucose oxidase to test for analytes like urea and glucose with concentrations in micro-mole.