Mapping The Terrain Of Optical Sensor Development

An international team of researchers has developed a 3D technology map which systematically compares optical sensor technologies.

AsianScientist (Jun. 11, 2019) – In a study published in the journal Advanced Optical Materials, scientists in Singapore and Austria have produced a 3D technology map of plasmonics and photonics. The two technologies have been drawing attention in both academia and industry due to their use in an extensive range of applications, one of which includes optical sensing.

The development of optical sensing technology not only contributes to the scientific research community as a versatile tool, but also offers substantial commercial value for smart city and Internet of Things (IoT) applications due to its energy efficiency, lightweight, small size and suitability for remote sensing.

However, information gaps exist in terms of the experimental and theoretical limits of optical sensing technologies, and there is a lack of consolidation of the various strategies used in the field of technical development.

Hence, researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), Singapore, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore, and the Austrian Institute of Technology, Austria, systematically summarized and compared the sensing abilities of optical refractive index sensors to create a map of the current state-of-the-art. They ranked the sensors according to their sensitivities and figure of merits, which could help define the standards and development trends for such sensors that rely on plasmonic and photonic structures.

Their report encompassed four common types of label-free optical refractive index sensors: metal-based propagating plasmonic eigenwave sensors, metal-based localized plasmonic eigenmode sensors, dielectric-based propagating photonic eigenwave sensors and dielectric-based localized photonic eigenmode sensors.

Additionally, more advanced hybrid refractive index sensors such as Fano resonance sensors and 2D materials-integrated plasmonic and photonic sensors were included in the review.

Any newly developed optical refractive index sensor can be added to this technology map to compare its sensing abilities with prior works. The continuous addition of new plasmonic and photonic refractive index sensors will enrich the technology map, thus providing a benchmark for this rapid development of optical refractive index sensors, said the researchers.

“We believe such a comprehensive review on optical refractive index sensors with plasmonic and photonic structures will attract much attention among research communities, which will help engineers to use the right sensors for the design of sub-systems in smart city and IoT [platforms],” said Professor Ricky Ang at SUTD, co-corresponding author on the study.

The article can be found at: Xu et al. (2019) Optical Refractive Index Sensors with Plasmonic and Photonic Structures: Promising and Inconvenient Truth.


Source: Singapore University of Technology and Design. Photo: Singapore University of Technology and Design.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

Asian Scientist Magazine is an award-winning science and technology magazine that highlights R&D news stories from Asia to a global audience. The magazine is published by Singapore-headquartered Wildtype Media Group.

Related Stories from Asian Scientist