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Issue 10, 2012
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Ultra-sensitive mid-infrared evanescent field sensors combining thin-film strip waveguides with quantum cascade lasers

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Abstract

We demonstrate ultra-sensitive chemical sensing in the mid-infrared spectral regime with a combination of quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) with GaAs/Al0.2Ga0.8As strip waveguides fabricated via metal–organic vapor-phase epitaxy (MOVPE) and reactive ion etching (RIE) using evanescent field absorption spectroscopy. These strip waveguides have been designed with a width of 200 μm, thereby facilitating 2-D confinement and mode-matched propagation of mid-infrared radiation emitted from a distributed feedback (DFB) QCL at a wavelength of 10.3 μm. Acetic anhydride was detected with a limit of detection (LOD) of 18 pL (19.4 ng) deposited at the waveguide surface by overlapping of the vibrational absorption of the methyl group with the emission frequency of the QCL. The obtained results indicate a remarkable enhancement in sensitivity by three orders of magnitude compared to previously reported multimode planar silver halide waveguides. Further reduction of the waveguide strip width to 50 μm resulted in an additional sensitivity enhancement yielding a calculated LOD of 0.05 pL for the exemplary analyte acetic anhydride, which is among the most sensitive evanescent field absorption measurements with a miniaturized mid-infrared sensor system reported to date.

Graphical abstract: Ultra-sensitive mid-infrared evanescent field sensors combining thin-film strip waveguides with quantum cascade lasers

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Article information


Submitted
29 Aug 2011
Accepted
18 Nov 2011
First published
17 Jan 2012

Analyst, 2012,137, 2322-2327
Article type
Paper

Ultra-sensitive mid-infrared evanescent field sensors combining thin-film strip waveguides with quantum cascade lasers

X. Wang, S. Kim, R. Roßbach, M. Jetter, P. Michler and B. Mizaikoff, Analyst, 2012, 137, 2322
DOI: 10.1039/C1AN15787F

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