The performance of a novel sensor based on an integrated optical (IO) disk microcavity (MC) is theoretically studied. The MC is a resonant waveguide structure in which multiple interference of a guided mode occurs. At resonance, the MC is extremely sensitive to refractive index changes and it sustains locally enhanced optical field. Therefore, the MC is naturally suitable as an extremely responsive sensor for measuring minute changes in refractive index and/or fluorescence of an analyte. Combination of multiple interference and extremely small sampling volume (few femtoliters) provides unique sensitivity of the MC device. A factor of 9 increase in fluorescence sensitivity versus waveguide sensor is anticipated. Provided shot-noise limited detection, the refractive index resolution down to 10−9 is feasible with the MC sensor, which exceeds that of the straight waveguide interferometer by the order of magnitude. MC-sensors can be combined into arrays providing high throughput detection of both labeled and non-fluorescent biological species.
- Optical disk microcavity