The objective of this program is to create a highly integrated sensor system through hybrid integration of passive plasmonic interferometers and Si waveguide array coupled active optoelectronic devices on a single microfluidic chip for low cost, real-time, label-free, lens-free, and multiplexed sensing applications. The proposed device provides a compact and portable sensing solution for point-of-care diagnostics that does not currently exist but is critical for overcoming size and cost barriers of conventional angular-tunable, prism-based surface plasmon resonance systems.
The intellectual merit is to integrate chip-scale semiconductor light sources and detectors with plasmonic sensors on a single chip so that light does not need to be coupled into/out of the sensors for analysis. Vertical plasmonic interferometers will perform the sensing function through intensity interrogation at a single wavelength. Curved silicon waveguides are proposed to interconnect active optoelectronic devices and plasmonic interferometers and enhance the sensor performance by preventing uncoupled light from entering the detector. Novel methods to obtain on-chip cancellation of temperature-induced signal drift will also be investigated.
The broader impacts are to investigate chip-scale all-in-one sensor platforms and integrate research and education. The outcome of the proposed research will have enormous long-term impacts on biosensing, health care and the national needs. The main goals of the education and outreach program are to enhance the PIs? undergraduate laboratory courses, improve the participation of graduate and undergraduate students in cutting-edge research in nanophotonics and biophotonics, and provide opportunities for under-represented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines.