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Opt Express. 2012 Apr 9;20(8):8284-95. doi: 10.1364/OE.20.008284.

Ultimate resolution for refractometric sensing with whispering gallery mode microcavities.

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  • 1Department of Physics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, T6G2G7, Canada.


Many proposed microfluidic biosensor designs are based on the measurement of the resonances of an optical microcavity. Fluorescence-based resonators tend to be simpler and more robust than setups that use evanescent coupling from tuneable laser to probe the cavity. In all sensor designs the detection limits depend on the wavelength resolution of the detection system, which is a limitation of fluorescence-based devices. In this work, we explore the ultimate resolution and detection limits of refractometric microcavity sensor structures. Because many periodic modes are collected simultaneously from fluorescent resonators, standard Fourier methods can be best suited for rapid and precise analysis of the resonance shifts. Simple numerical expressions to calculate the ultimate sensor resolution and detection limits were found, and the results compared to experiments in which the resonances of fluorescent-core microcapillaries responded to various sucrose concentrations in water.

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