Optimisation of distributed feedback laser biosensors

Coote, J, Reddy, Subrayal M orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7362-184X and Sweeney, SJ (2007) Optimisation of distributed feedback laser biosensors. In: 21st Conference on Semiconductor Integrated Optoelectronics (SIOE), 2007, Cardiff, Wales.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1049/iet-opt:20070053


A new integrated optical sensor chip is proposed, based on a modified distributed- feedback (DFB) semiconductor laser. The semiconductor layers of different refractive indices that comprise a laser form the basis of a waveguide sensor, where changes in the refractive index of material at the surface are sensed via changes in the evanescent field of the lasing mode. In DFB lasers, laser oscillation occurs at the Bragg wavelength. Since this is sensitive to the effective refractive index of the optical mode, the emission wavelength is sensitive to the index of a sample on the waveguide surface. Hence, lasers are modelled as planar waveguides and the effective index of the fundamental transverse electric mode is calculated as a function of index and thickness of a thin surface layer using the beam propagation method. We find that an optimised structure has a thin upper cladding layer of ~0.15 mum, which according to this model gives detection limits on test layer index and thickness resolution of 0.1 and 1.57 nm, respectively, a figure which may be further improved using two lasers in an interferometer-type configuration.

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