Reproducible fiber optofluidic laser for disposable and array applications†
Disposable sensors are widely used in biomedical detection due to their inherent safety, ease of use and low cost. An optofluidic laser is a sensitive bioassay platform; however, demonstrating its fabrication cheaply and reproducibly enough for disposable use has been challenging. Here, we report a low-cost, reproducible fiber optofluidic laser (FOFL) using a microstructured optical fiber (MOF). The MOF not only supports the whispering gallery modes for lasing but also serves as a microfluidic channel for sampling the liquid gain medium via capillary force. Because of the precise control of its geometry (δ < 0.4%) during the fiber-drawing process, good reproducibility in laser intensity (δ = 6.5%) was demonstrated by changing 10 sections of the MOF. The strong coupling between the in-fiber resonator and gain medium enables a low threshold of 3.2 μJ mm−2. The angular dependence of the laser emission was observed experimentally and analyzed with numerical simulations. An array of the FOFLs was also demonstrated. This technology has great potential for low-cost bioassay applications.