On-chip silicon Mach–Zehnder interferometer sensor for ultrasound detection

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A highly sensitive ultrasound sensor based on an integrated photonics Mach–Zehnder interferometer (MZI) fabricated in silicon-on-insulator technology is reported. The sensing spiral is located on a membrane of size 121 μm × 121 μm. Ultrasound waves excite the membrane’s vibrational mode, which translates to modulation of the MZI transmission. The measured sensor transfer function is centered at 0.47 MHz and has a −6 dB bandwidth of 21.2%. The sensor sensitivity is linear in the optical input power and reaches a maximum 0.62 mV/Pa, which is limited by the interrogation method. At 0.47 MHz and for an optical power of 1.0 mW the detection limit is 0.38 mPa∕Hz 12 and the dynamic range is 59 dB. The MZI’s gradual transmission function allows a wide range of wavelength operation points. This strongly facilitates sensor use and is promising for applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1928-1931
JournalOptics Letters
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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