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Proceedings Paper

Integrated all-polymer Mach-Zehnder interferometers without interaction window in asymmetric configuration
Author(s): Yanfen Xiao; Meike Hofmann; Ziyu Wang; Stanislav Sherman; Pei Li; Hans Zappe
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Paper Abstract

Integrated Mach-Zehnder interferometers (MZI) based on semiconductors or glasses have been widely used as evanescent field sensors for the monitoring of liquid or gas concentrations. In these systems the upper cladding of the sensing arm is removed partially to form an interaction window by means of subtractive fabrication techniques like etching. The use of polymer materials implicates new options and challenges. Polymers are tunable in terms of refractive index and viscosity offering a great flexibility in design and fabrication in a certain range. They enable a cost-efficient and large-scale roll-to-roll manufacturing of integrated optics on flexible foils as substrate material. The foils can be pre-patterned for example by hot-embossing. Additive steps such as printing a pattern or dispensing a homogeneous layer of liquid monomer material followed by a UV induced polymerization can be used to define the optical structure. However, when a large scale fabrication is required, the reliable production of small lateral structures and thin layers is challenging. Thus the fabrication according to the classical MZI design including an interaction window is difficult so that new design approaches are required. We present here the design and systematic evaluation of MZI sensors without interaction window based on polymer materials. The phase shift at the recombining Y-splitter of the MZI upon a refractive index change of an analyte, which serves as upper cladding of the entire system, is generated by a geometrical asymmetricity of the MZI. The waveguides in the sensing and the reference arm have different width leading to different effective refractive indices and sensitivities. We consider theoretically the expected interference signal and show results from numerical simulations of the whole system using commercial software. The simulations include the material as well as propagation losses and give an overall optimal system length.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 March 2016
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 9750, Integrated Optics: Devices, Materials, and Technologies XX, 97501V (1 March 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2228391
Show Author Affiliations
Yanfen Xiao, Univ. of Freiburg (Germany)
Meike Hofmann, Univ. of Freiburg (Germany)
Ziyu Wang, Univ. of Freiburg (Germany)
Stanislav Sherman, Univ. of Freiburg (Germany)
Pei Li, Univ. of Freiburg (Germany)
Hans Zappe, Univ. of Freiburg (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9750:
Integrated Optics: Devices, Materials, and Technologies XX
Jean-Emmanuel Broquin; Gualtiero Nunzi Conti, Editor(s)

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