Integrated optical force sensors using focusing photonic crystal arrays

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Abstract

Mechanical oscillators are at the heart of many sensor applications. Recently several groups have developed oscillators that are probed optically, fabricated from high-stress silicon nitride films. They exhibit outstanding force sensitivities of a few aN/Hz1/2 and can also be made highly reflective, for efficient detection. The optical read-out usually requires complex experimental setups, including positioning stages and bulky cavities, making them impractical for real applications. In this paper we propose a novel way of building fully integrated all-optical force sensors based on low-loss silicon nitride mechanical resonators with a photonic crystal reflector. We can circumvent previous limitations in stability and complexity by simulating a suspended focusing photonic crystal, purely made of silicon nitride. Our design allows for an all integrated sensor, built out of a single block that integrates a full Fabry-Pérot cavity, without the need for assembly or alignment. The presented simulations will allow for a radical simplification of sensors based on high-Q silicon nitride membranes. Our results comprise, to the best of our knowledge, the first simulations of a focusing mirror made from a mechanically suspended flat membrane with subwavelength thickness. Cavity lengths between a few hundred µm and mm should be directly realizable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9196-9203
JournalOptics Express
Volume25
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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