Optics express | 7 Apr 2021
C Consani, F Dubois and G Auböck
Proper optimization of a photonic structure for sensing applications is of extreme importance for integrated sensor design. Here we discuss on the definition of suitable parameters to determine the impact of photonic structure designs for evanescent-wave absorption sensors on the achievable resolution and sensitivity. In particular, we analyze the most widespread quantities used to classify photonic structures in the context of sensing, namely the evanescent-field ratio (or evanescent power factor) and the confinement factor Γ. We show that, somewhat counterintuitively, the confinement factor is the only parameter that can reliably describe the absorption of the evanescent-field in the surrounding medium, and, by quantifying the discrepancy between the two parameters for a set of realistic photonic structures, we demonstrate that using the evanescent-field ratio can lead to a wrong classification of the performance of different structures for absorption sensing. We finally discuss the most convenient simulation strategies to retrieve the confinement factor by FEM simulations.
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