Spatial resolution and refractive index contrast of resonant photonic crystal surfaces for biosensing

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By depositing a resolution test pattern on top of a Si3N4 photonic crystal resonant surface, we have measured the dependence of spatial resolution on refractive index contrast \Delta n. Our experimental results and finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) simulations at different refractive index contrasts show that the spatial resolution of our device reduces with reduced contrast, which is an important consideration in biosensing, where the contrast may be of order 10{-2} . We also compare 1-D and 2-D gratings, taking into account different incidence polarizations, leading to a better understanding of the excitation and propagation of the resonant modes in these structures, as well as how this contributes to the spatial resolution. At \Delta n = 0.077, we observe resolutions of 2 and 6 \mu\hbox{m} parallel to and perpendicular to the grooves of a 1-D grating, respectively, and show that for polarized illumination of a 2-D grating, resolution remains asymmetrical. Illumination of a 2-D grating at 45 ^{\circ} results in symmetric resolution. At very low index contrast, the resolution worsens dramatically, particularly for \Delta n\ <\ 0.01, where we observe a resolution exceeding 10 \mu\hbox{m} for our device. In addition, we measure a reduction in the resonance linewidth as the index contrast becomes lower, corresponding to a longer resonant mode propagation length in the structure and contributing to the change in spatial resolution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6801810
JournalIeee photonics journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015

Bibliographical note

(c) 2015 IEEE. This content is made available by the publisher under a Creative Commons CC-BY Licence


  • biosensor
  • grating
  • photonic crystal
  • polarisation
  • refractive index contrast
  • Resonant surface
  • spatial resolution

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