|Publication No: 3568||Search all ORC publications|
Flat fiber - the flexible format for distributed lab-on-a-chip
Corin Gawith, Andrew Webb, Rafiq Adikan, James Gates, Jayanta Sahu, Peter Smith
Integrated optical devices offer dense, multifunctional capability in a single robust package but are rarely considered compatible with the fields of remote or distributed sensing or long-haul 'one-dimensional' fibers. Here we aim to change that by introducing a 'flat-fiber' process that combines the advantages of existing low-cost fiber drawing with the functionality of planar lightwave circuits in a novel hybrid format.
Adapted from MCVD fiber fabrication, our preforms are deposited and collapsed into a rectangular geometry before drawing, resulting in extended lengths of mechanically flexible flat-fiber material with a photosensitive germanium-doped planar core. Direct UV writing is then used to create arrays of channel waveguides within the core layer, using a 4um focussed laser spot that literally 'draws' refractive index patterns into the flat fiber as it moves.
Having recently demonstrated simple building blocks for integrated optical circuits in millimeter-wide flat fibers (including; channel waveguides, power junctions and splitters, and planar Bragg gratings), our next step is to incorporate structured windows at strategic points along the fiber to allow fluidic access to the evanescent field for local refractive-index-based chemical measurements.
By taking this approach, we hope to extend beyond the limitations of traditional planar and fiber substrates - allowing exotic material compositions, device layouts, and local sensing functions to be distributed over extended distances with no coupling or compatibility concerns in highly functional distributed lab-on-a-chip devices.
SPIE Europe Optics & Optoelectronics Conference Prague 16-20 Apr (2007)
Copyright University of Southampton 2006