Santa Cruz, CA, October 20, 2004--Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, have demonstrated integrated optical waveguides with fluid cores, a technology that enables light propagation through small volumes of fluids on a chip and that has a wide range of potential applications, including chemical and biological sensors with single-molecule sensitivity.
"It is an enabling technology that opens up a wide range of fields to the use of optics on integrated semiconductors to do experiments or build devices," said Holger Schmidt, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at UC Santa Cruz.
Schmidt and graduate student Dongliang Yin designed the fluid-core waveguides so they could be made using standard silicon fabrication technology used on an industrial scale to make computer chips. The fabrication process yields a hollow-core waveguide that works whether the core is filled with liquid or gas. They described the novel waveguides and the results of optical testing of the devices in the October 18 issue of the journal Applied Physics Letters.